1. Home
  2.  / Hefty Bill For Trashed House

Hefty Bill For Trashed House

Sally Lindsay reports on a tenancy that left every area of a house, apart from the laundry, extensively damaged.

By: Sally Lindsay

30 April 2022

Tenants who trashed a Christchurch landlord’s Linwood property now owe him over $10,000 in rent arrears, insurance excess and two exemplary damages claims.

Courtney Hanna and Mark Francis had a fixed-term tenancy for Twinky Holdings’ Stanmore Road property until March 20 this year, but it was terminated by the Tenancy Tribunal in September last year when they abandoned the home.

The abandonment and the state the premises were left in caused the landlord’s sole director and shareholder severe financial difficulty and an enormous amount of stress, the tribunal found.

Twinky Holdings was awarded rent arrears to September 15 paid from the bond and the premises were re-let in December. The landlord, in a new Tenancy Tribunal hearing, claimed $4,484.29 rent from September until new tenants moved in from Hanna and Francis, which was awarded.

Evidence Of Meth

During the tenancy every area of the house, apart from the laundry, was extensively damaged. The tenants’ insurance assessors gave a breakdown of the damage, with the cost of repairs to each of the seven affected areas exceeding the insurance excess of $500 for each room.

While much of the damage was plainly intentionally caused, including damage to walls and doors and missing chattels, says the tribunal, Twinky Holdings limited its claim for damage to the insurance excesses.

There was also evidence of methamphetamine use at the premises and the new tenants arranged for the premises to be tested, which produced results of up to 10.2μg/100cm2.

The level of contamination was below that needed for decontamination, but the tribunal says the testing was justified and came about as a result of Hanna and Francis’ unlawful use of the premises, so the cost of testing was recoverable.

This was subsequently included in the insurer’s application for excesses amounting to $4,000, which were awarded.

Exemplary damages were also awarded against Hanna and Francis for purporting to give a 28-day notice of termination when they knew they had a fixed-term tenancy. The tribunal made an award of $1,200, near the maximum of $1,500.

Damages Award

Hanna and Francis also admitted using meth at the home, so the tribunal awarded $1,000 in exemplary damages to Twinky Holdings for unlawful use of the premises.

The tribunal says the contamination of the premises added another layer of stress and upset for the landlord and therefore a substantial award of exemplary damages was required.

They were also ordered to pay $344 for rubbish removal and $199 for advertising the property for rent in the total award. The tribunal also heard there was another incident at the home, which resulted in the tenants being charged with aggravated robbery. However, it did not regard that as unlawful use of the premises because of insufficient connection between the alleged criminal conduct and the house.

After Hanna and Francis abandoned the premises, Twinky Holdings sold some of their belongings left behind and the tribunal gave them $281.03 credit for the net proceeds of sale.


Related Articles