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Serious threats lead to eviction

One of the many victims of a rampage by a tenant in an Unsworth Heights, blocks of flats was so scared they wet themselves and defecated.

Wednesday, July 19th 2023, 11:38AM

by Sally Lindsay

The landlord, who believed his life was seriously in danger from tenant Martin Dennis Olley, who was blinded by rage, has had his urgent application for eviction granted by the Tenancy Tribunal.

Collett Realty had let one of its flats at Unsworth Drive, on Auckland’s North Shore to Olley, who during May threatened tenants, seriously assaulted one tenant in the complex, and menaced the property manager.

Collett provided CCTV still images to the tribunal showing Olley chasing the assaulted tenant, and coming back to the assaulted tenant’s premises.

The tenant sent multiple text messages to the property manager who went to the complex, found it was an emergency situation and went into the assaulted tenant’s premises.

Collett told the tribunal it was quiet when the property manager went into the premises and he thought the victim was so seriously hurt they were unconscious or dead.

“As soon as the property manager was in the building, the emergency response was upped as the entire scale of the events could be seen,” he says.

“Our tenant was barricaded behind a door as Olley kept gaining access to his studio flat. The assaulted tenant had cuts and bruises all over their face and body, was visibly traumatised and had also been bottled. The prolonged attack took place over many, many hours.

“The property manager had to physically barricade the assaulted tenant’s door to keep Olley out as he was pushing on the other side whilst abusing him.” 

Collett says at this point the property manager was fearing for his safety as Olley was blinded by rage.

“The property manager thought Olley was about to smash the glass window in. Olley only left the unit when the property manager started calling 111 directly and sent an entire team wide emergency message.”

Five police cars arrived with an ambulance and Olley was arrested and charged.

On 18 May the landlord issued a notice of anti-social behaviour to Olley and applied on the same day to the Tenancy Tribunal for immediate termination of the tenancy, because of health and safety concerns.

Collett says he, the property manager and other tenants are all extremely scared for their safety/life as police have informed them drugs are involved.

Evidence objections

Olley objected to some of the landlord’s evidence. He says there is no evidence of him assaulting anyone but accepts there was inappropriate behaviour on his part.

He claims the injuries to the other tenant were caused by people in the city and he was not charged by the police with assault, only threating to assault.

When asked by tribunal adjudicator R Woodhouse what inappropriate behaviour he was referring to, Olley says he would not respond to that question because the tribunal was not a court.

Olley says he does not recall threatening the property manager. “I am not saying that my behaviour was appropriate when I approached Liam [the property manager] and I can understand why he felt threatened.”

Civil standards

Woodhouse says the sole question for the tribunal to determine, is whether Olley’s tenancy can be terminated using civil law standards and expectations.

Woodhouse says it is the principle of good common sense that the more serious the issue the greater should be the care used in assessing it.

“The civil standard has been flexibly applied in civil proceedings no matter how serious the conduct that is alleged.

“Allowing the civil standard to be applied flexibly has not meant that the degree of probability required to meet this standard changes in serious cases. Rather, the civil standard is flexibly applied because it accommodates serious allegations through the natural tendency to require stronger evidence before being satisfied to the balance of probabilities standard.

He says based on the evidence the landlord has established that it is more likely than not that Olley threatened to assault the property manager.

Woodhouse says he accepts Collett’s evidence that he had serious concerns around his own safety, and continues to have those concerns. “That is a reasonable inference based on the event as described.

“To be fair, Olley stated he can understand why Liam [the property manager] felt threatened. To that extent Olley has accepted that his behaviour was threatening.”

The question then becomes whether to extend discretion to decline to terminate the tenancy under section 55(2) but in this case it is declined, because I am not satisfied that the breach is capable of remedy;  the landlord has not been compensated by Olley; and I am not persuaded there is sufficient evidence to conclude that no further breach will occur.

Woodhouse made no findings as to whether Olley assaulted or threatened to assault any other tenant. He says he accepts Olley strongly disputes the allegations around the alleged assault and, no doubt, that will be determined by the court.

Tags: Tenancy Tribunal

« Illegal car park storage could mean end of tenancyA step too far »

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