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Lack of insight leads to eviction

A tenant was undeterred by police call-outs or 14-day breach notices, writes Sally Lindsay.

By: Sally Lindsay

1 February 2022

A serious lack of insight from a tenant into her behaviour has resulted in eviction.

The Tenancy Tribunal found the numerous tenancy breaches portrayed a tenant who posed a high risk of damage to the rental premises and ongoing disruption to neighbours.

The landlord, Excalibre Property Management, told the tribunal there was ongoing excessive noise including visitors running up and down the driveway erratically, loud music, barking dogs, verbal and physical altercations and cars revving in the driveway, and asked for the tenancy to be terminated.

Name suppression was granted to the tenant. Adjudicator A Aiolupotea said the breach of excessive noise was not capable of being remedied because it was ongoing and persistent enough to cause the neighbours fear and the tenant was not deterred by police call-outs, 14-day breach notices, or the knowledge that a tribunal hearing date was only a few days away.

In granting suppression, the adjudicator said it was in case publication of the tenant’s name led to a disproportionate disadvantage for her when securing future rental properties and also because she suffers from anxiety and depression.

Complaints from neighbours documented multiple breaches and there were text message complaints to the police right up to the weekend preceding the tribunal hearing.

Excalibre Property Management had received dozens of calls from neighbours since September. The owner found the tenant’s behaviour intimidating.

The tenant told the tribunal she made some noise, but not enough to justify termination, so it was irrelevant. It was more anti-social behaviour and mostly the result of her ex-boyfriend and visitors making excessive noise, but they no longer visited the premises.

Dog Problem

While only allowed one dog, the landlord said there were about five dogs living at the premises. Four were removed on September 16 to remedy a 14-day breach notice, but were back at the property five days later.

An email to the landlord from an intimidated neighbour claimed the vicious unleashed dogs had come on to their property.

While the tenant says they were friends’ dogs and she had told them not to bring them over again, the tribunal found the landlord should have given her another 14 day breach notice when they returned to the property on September 21, so the claim was dismissed.

A few unauthorised vehicles were parked at the property, the landlord told the tribunal. The tenant claimed they were unable to be moved because of lockdown restrictions. However, the tribunal found the situation could have been avoided by visitors parking on the road or elsewhere despite the lockdowns.

Multiple other breaches were raised by the landlord and included setting an outdoor table on fire, yelling abusively at the property manager and neighbours, and threatening violence towards neighbours.

The police and Fire Service were called out several times because of the altercations and the tenant lighting open fires near the garage

This was substantiated by texts, emails and a video clip. Several neighbours had become afraid of the tenant and her visitors. When the tribunal asked whether she had set the outdoor table on fire, the tenant took responsibility but avoided saying how the table was damaged. When asked about the video showing her yelling abusively at the neighbour, she replied this was reasonable behaviour in light of the neighbour’s invasion of privacy.

She said she suffered from anxiety and depression so this could have made her appear inebriated when questioned by police about the noise at the weekend preceding the hearing. In terms of the open fire, the tenant claimed it was not against the law and it was not grounds for termination.

“I accept the tenant’s depression may have affected their behaviour. However, the responses at the hearing in minimising the breach of excessive noise, denying receipt of 14-day notices, evading the question regarding the outdoor table damage, justifying the abusive behaviour towards a neighbour and continuing to breach right up until a few days before the tribunal hearing, shows a serious lack of insight from the tenant. Considering all of the breaches cumulatively, I find it would be inequitable to refuse to terminate the tenancy.”


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