An Auckland tenant has been awarded compensation after reporting 25 incidents involving neighbouring renters, including finding a man hiding in the roof.
According to 9news.com.au, the tenant and his partner moved into an Auckland unit in April last year, which was one of three in a converted house, with a communal yard.
The tenant encountered issues with his neighbours, the tenants in Unit 3, immediately.
He recounted to the tenancy tribunal that when a washing machine was delivered on his second day at the property, he saw a man take it and roll it into Unit 3.
After contacting the police, the washing machine was returned, but the tenant decided to install a security camera to film his doorstep and the common area anyway.
In total, the tenant reported 25 incidents concerning the people from Unit 3 to his property managers, but he said the landlord did not respond to all of them.
The most concerning was when he heard noise in the ceiling and found a person he recognised from Unit 3 hiding in the roof.
The person then went back to the manhole for Unit 3, before being taken into custody by police.
Other incidents included his security cameras catching people urinating on the wall of his unit, looking through his windows and exposing themselves to the camera.
The tenant said he recognised the people in the vision as coming and going from Unit 3.
He was also verbally abused and threatened with violence.
At the tribunal he sought reimbursement for money he spent on the CCTV camera, opaque film for his windows, and locks for his letterbox.
He also sought a rent reduction as he didn’t feel he could use the common areas or leave the property without risking further offences.
The property manager, on behalf of the landlord, said he didn’t question the tenant’s account of what happened but noted the camera couldn’t see people coming and going from Unit 3.
The property manager also said they had responded to every report from the tenant and served multiple 14-day breach notices to the Unit 3 tenant.
In a recently released decision, the tribunal adjudicator said because the incidents were so serious and frequent, the landlord had increased responsibility to the tenant and had not take all reasonable steps to protect his peace, comfort and privacy.
“Locks for the letterbox, opaque film for windows and CCTV cameras are all standard security devices that the landlord could have employed,” the adjudicator said.
“CCTV cameras installed and monitored by the landlord rather than the tenant, may have served to deter the offensive behaviour of the tenants at Unit 3 being directed at Mr Turner.”
THe property management company was ordered to reimburse the tenant NZ$200 for the security camera, NZ$30 for window film, NZ$20 for letterbox locks and NZ$60 for blackout curtains.
The company was also ordered to pay NZ$625 in compensation, reflecting a rent reduction of NZ$25 per week from the beginning of June 2023 until the date of the tribunal hearing.