The Press

Scarfie party flat cen­tre of $34,000 le­gal dis­pute

- Hamish Mc­Neilly hamish.mc­Neilly@stuff.co.nz Crime · Dunedin · Singapore · Otago Region · University of Otago

A group of stu­dents who lived at a Dunedin party flat – where peo­ple allegedly vom­ited into holes in the walls – may be li­able for $34,000 in claimed dam­ages.

Al­co­hol boxes and bro­ken fur­ni­ture lit­ter the front yard, win­dows are boarded up, and a leak­ing pipe, toi­let pa­per and bro­ken glass lie in an al­ley­way.

The self-de­scribed party flat is just a few doors from Cas­tle St North’s most fa­mous flat – No 660, the birth­place of pop­u­lar Kiwi band Six60.

The amount of dam­age re­mains a source of con­tention be­tween the six male ten­ants and Prop­er­tyscouts, which man­ages the prop­erty on be­half of the Sin­ga­pore-based owner.

It is un­der­stood court ac­tion is be­ing con­sid­ered over the out­stand­ing bill, with lawyers for both sides in­volved.

‘‘We are work­ing through the process and ar­rang­ing re­pairs at the prop­erty,’’ Prop­er­tyscouts coowner Bex Har­ris said yes­ter­day.

She de­clined to com­ment fur­ther, as did sev­eral of the flat­mates, who were mostly from Auck­land and who were ap­proached for com­ment.

One con­firmed the mat­ter was still go­ing through a le­gal process.

One of the flat­mates told stu­dent magazine Critic this year that the flat was ‘‘prob­a­bly the most no­to­ri­ous one for par­ty­ing’’.

There were holes in 19 of the walls, and two wit­nesses told the magazine peo­ple had vom­ited into the cav­i­ties. The claim was not con­firmed nor de­nied by the ten­ant.

The five-flat com­plex, tra­di­tion­ally leased to all-male flat­mates, has been a source of frus­tra­tion for au­thor­i­ties.

It is un­der­stood po­lice have in­ves­ti­gated whether charges of wil­ful dam­age could be laid.

The Univer­sity of Otago de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter, re­fer­ring queries to the Ten­ancy Tri­bunal.

Prop­er­tyscouts took the six flat­mates to the Ten­ancy Tri­bunal in Au­gust to have the lease ter­mi­nated be­cause of the ‘‘sub­stan­tial on­go­ing dam­age to the premises’’.

The tri­bunal agreed, end­ing the men’s ten­ancy im­me­di­ately.

The prop­erty was in­spected sev­eral times dur­ing the year, and pho­tos were pro­duced of the dam­age, the tri­bunal’s de­ci­sion said.

Among the van­dal­ism was a bed and­mat­tress that had been set on fire, nu­mer­ous holes in doors and walls, and dam­age to the car­pet.

The land­lord said the re­pairs that had been made were ‘‘sub­stan­dard’’, but the ten­ants ar­gued most of the dam­age had been fixed. They also al­leged the fire and bro­ken win­dows may have been caused by oth­ers, while a hole in a laun­dry was due to ‘‘rot­ting floor­boards’’.

The tri­bunal con­vener was not con­vinced, and found the ten­ants had breached their obli­ga­tions by al­low­ing oth­ers to cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the prop­erty, ei­ther in­ten­tion­ally or care­lessly.

‘‘I am per­suaded by the ev­i­dence that the ten­ants had fre­quent gath­er­ings in the premises and that it is likely much of the dam­age oc­curred dur­ing these times,’’ the con­vener said.

The tri­bunal de­ci­sion ruled the land­lord had not been com­pen­sated for all of the losses.

Otago Univer­sity Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion stu­dent sup­port man­ager Sage Burke was un­able to con­firm whether the stu­dents ac­cessed the as­so­ci­a­tion’s ser­vices, which in­cluded ad­vice about the Ten­ancy Tri­bunal.

‘‘We en­cour­age all par­ties in a ten­ancy to be aware of the ben­e­fits and obli­ga­tions in­volved, and to live up to these.

‘‘We rec­om­mend that both land­lords and ten­ants keep their own records of, among other things, the con­di­tion of the prop­erty at the be­gin­ning and end of a ten­ancy.’’

 ??  ?? The ‘‘party flat’’ in Dunedin’s Cas­tle St North where about $34,000 worth of dam­age was caused.
The ‘‘party flat’’ in Dunedin’s Cas­tle St North where about $34,000 worth of dam­age was caused.

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