Big pay-out for flooded fam­ily


An Auck­land prop­erty man­ager rented out an un­safe, flood-prone garage as two sep­a­rate bed­rooms then claimed the ten­ant rented it ‘as is’.

The prop­erty, in the sub­urb of Ma­nurewa, flooded three times in a year, lead­ing to a le­gal bat­tle and a $7500 pay-out. Ten­ancy Tri­bunal ad­ju­di­ca­tor Jack Tam de­liv­ered a judg­ment on the case in June. His rul­ing said Brad Steven, a mar­ket­ing man­ager, had rented a house in Rowan­dale Ave, Ma­nurewa, af­ter see­ing it in a Trade Me ad­ver­tise­ment in 2016. How­ever, Tracy Pre­ston claimed Steven rented the two un­con­sented bed­rooms on an ‘‘asis-where-is ba­sis’’, Tam’s judg­ment said. One week af­ter Steven, his part­ner and two young chil­dren moved in, the two bed­rooms flooded, de­stroy­ing com­put­ers, iPads, cloth­ing and books. On other oc­ca­sions they would find them­selves get­ting up early in the morn­ing to bail out wa­ter from around the house to pre­vent it from en­ter­ing the two bed­rooms, Steven said.

‘‘We kind of had to live in a fear that it might flood. We had to move stuff out or put it up high. You don’t ex­pect to live in a prop­erty and have it flood ev­ery time it rains.’’

Tam’s judg­ment said Pre­ston made ‘‘well-mean­ing but ul­ti­mately un­suc­cess­ful’’ ef­forts to fix the prob­lem. ‘‘Over­all the ev­i­dence shows that the 2-bed­room rum­pus is un­healthy and un­safe to be used as per­ma­nent sleep­ing quar­ters,’’ the judg­ment said. The land­lords, Peter and Jane Rob­son, vol­un­tar­ily re­duced Steven’s rent from $650 to $500 eight months into his ten­ancy as the per­sis­tent floods were mak­ing the two bed­rooms un­in­hab­it­able. When ap­proached about the case, Pre­ston said she was not able to com­ment and re­ferred Stuff to her branch man­ager. Pre­ston’s branch man­ager, Bill Humphrey, said he also could not com­ment and he had ‘‘no opinion’’ on the judg­ment. Tam or­dered Bar­foot & Thompson and the Rob­sons to pay Steven $7522.50 im­me­di­ately.


Flood-prone garage rented out to fam­ily of four as two bed­rooms in Ma­nurewa.

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