The Press

Scarfie party flat centre of $34,000 legal dispute

- Hamish McNeilly

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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