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.