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HNZ eviction has lessons for landlords

A court case involving tenants under threat of eviction from their Auckland state house has implications for landlords, says Scotney Williams, principal of Tenancy Practice Service.

Thursday, June 28th 2007, 10:38AM

by The Landlord

By Andrea Milner


Sharon Salt and her family were ordered to leave 39 Range View Rd in Owairaka after a Tenancy Tribunal hearing found serious breaches of her tenancy agreement with Housing NZ.

The Tenancy Tribunal order was granted due to the tenant’s “serious interference with the peace, privacy and comfort of the neighbourhood”.

The order referred to the “ongoing fear and trepidation including fear of recriminations being experienced by neighbours (as confirmed to the Tribunal by the New Zealand Police)”.

Numerous complaints were made against Salt, including allegations that her out-of-control children vandalise property, assault others and cause disturbances.

Housing NZ was granted the right to evict the family after they failed to turn up to two hearings.

Speaking at a parliamentary select committee, Housing Minister Chris Carter said Housing NZ had worked with social services and the police to ensure the correct process had been followed in the eviction.

“At the end of the day, tenants have responsibilities too.”

Housing NZ had to act as a responsible landlord, and this involved a duty of care to neighbours.

After an appeal, Salt was granted a Tenancy Tribunal rehearing, taking place at the Auckland District Court. Affidavit evidence from Housing NZ manager Villy Coetze said neighbours had lodged a variety of complaints about the Salts, including family members urinating on fences to fireworks being aimed at other residents.

Salt’s lawyer, John Foliaki, dismissed Coetze’s evidence as hearsay. However, adjudicator Amanda Elliot said the tribunal often relied on hearsay evidence as the standard of proof was determined “on the balance of probabilities”.

Seventeen witnesses will give evidence at the hearing. Already a string of Range View Rd residents – none of whom can be named – have given evidence, all of it unflattering to the Salts.

Tenancy Pratice Service’s Scotney Williams says the case demonstrates landlords’ right to terminate a tenancy via Tribunal application in situations where they are receiving serious complaints about their tenant’s behaviour from neighbours.

The adjudicator must be satisfied on the evidence presented that it is “more likely than not” that the behaviour complained of amounts to a significant enough breach of neighbours’ peace, privacy and comfort to justify termination of the tenancy. This is a matter left to the adjudicator’s discretion; a termination order is not granted automatically.

 

« Calls to blacklist “tenants from hell”HNZ to blame for botched eviction bid »

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BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
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China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
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First Credit Union Special 5.85 2.95 3.45 -
Heartland Bank - Online 2.50 1.99 2.35 2.45
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HSBC Premier 4.49 2.25 2.35 2.65
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - 1.99 - -
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ICBC 3.69 2.25 2.35 2.65
Kainga Ora 4.43 2.79 3.04 3.13
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 3.40 3.20 3.50 3.50
Kiwibank - Offset 3.40 - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.35 2.65 2.65
Liberty 5.69 - - -
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SBS Bank Special - 2.29 2.29 2.65
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The Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - 2.09 - -
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.29 2.59 2.79
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 2.79 3.09 3.29
TSB Bank 5.34 3.09 3.29 3.45
TSB Special 4.54 2.29 2.49 2.65
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.55 3.49 -
Westpac 4.59 3.09 3.29 3.39
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 2.79 2.99 2.80

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