An Auckland landlord whose property had “excessive” water pooling must reimburse his tenants $1112 for damage and loss of use of amenities.
Anitele’a Andrew Stowers sought compensation and damages from landlord Chris Wang, and property manager LDW Property Management, over a leaking storm water pipe and a tradesperson unlawfully entering the property.
He also claimed the landlords unlawfully terminated the tenancy, and sought reimbursement from the landlords for not lodging the bond for the property in Glen Eden.
Stowers told the property manager before he, his wife Lusila and their family moved in that he was concerned about water pooling in the carport and basement, according to the Tenancy Tribunal decision.
* Noise and builders’ toilet smell like a living ‘hell’ for Auckland tenants
* Dispute over $34,000 worth of damage allegedly caused at scarfie party flat
* Tenants’ son thought real estate agent was intruder after waking up during visit
He was told the problem would be fixed before they moved in, but it was not. He discovered the kitchen and laundry sinks drained into the basement, found mould in an under-sink area, and said his wife’s car stereo had been damaged by water from the leak.
The sink problem was fixed, but there was still water in the carport area which got quite deep and smelt bad, the tribunal was told.
As a result, the family could not use the carport or basement.
Wang told the tribunal that the water could get 12 to 15 centimetres deep when it rained, but it drained when the rain stopped.
The tenant and landlord disagreed about the cause of the leak, but tribunal adjudicator R Kee said that did not matter.
“I find the pooling of the water was excessive, and it was a maintenance issue that needed to be fixed,” Kee said.
“Whether the pooling was due to a leak or flooding, the pooling should not have occurred, and I find the landlords failed to maintain the premises in this regard.”
The landlords got tradespeople to dig trenches, but Stowers said the workers caused about $150 worth of damage to taro plants. The digging also made it dangerous for his grandchildren to play outside, and Lusila told the tribunal she felt intruded-upon by the workers.
The tribunal awarded $650 to the tenants for loss of amenity, and found that the landlords breached their obligation to maintain the property, which carried maximum damages of $4000.
However, the landlords took steps to solve the problem even if the problem was not solved, said Kee. The tribunal was not satisfied the landlord intentionally committed an unlawful act, and did not award damages.
The tribunal found that while the workers arrived without the landlord giving notice, the claim of entering the premises without the tenants’ consent was not proven because the landlord and Wang were on the land outside rather than inside the house.
The Stowards also claimed the landlords ended the tenancy unlawfully, after being given 42 days’ notice that Wang’s son was going to move in. The landlords said the son never moved in because the house needed renovation work, and the son’s circumstances changed.
The tribunal dismissed the claim.
The tribunal ruled that Wang had to pay Stowers $2600 for reimbursement of the bond, which was not lodged by a previous property manager. Kee said Wang did not have to pay damages because it was not proven that he intentionally committed the unlawful act.