Dinkum Donuts owner Shane Ayers outside his new South
Dunedin shop. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Nothing, zero, zilch, the big doughnut - that's the
compensation a South Dunedin businessman got when he had to
stop trading so his landlord could demolish the building he
Dinkum Donuts owner Shane Ayers said he was seeking $80,000
from the Brocklebank Family Trust for failing to provide a
structurally sound premises for the full term of a lease.
The reimbursement was for lost wages and the cost of finding
In August 2011, Mr Ayers had a year remaining on a two-year
lease for the doughnut shop in the building on the corner of
King Edward St and Carey Ave.
Arthur Stone, of Arthur Stone Builder Ltd, said the trust and
the Dunedin City Council contracted his company to paint the
The painters discovered the facade had detached and
structural engineers deemed the building unsafe.
The parapet had pulled away from the roof, Mr Stone said.
''Which left a gap the size of a fist.''
The structural damage could have been from a one-off event,
such as the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, or a long-term lack
of maintenance. Mr Ayers said he had to stop trading a week
later when the building was closed.
He had business interruption insurance but a payout was
declined due to a lack of maintenance of the building.
A year after closing, Mr Ayers opened another doughnut shop
in nearby premises - which had more expensive rent.
''I had to start from scratch, basically.''
Mr Ayers said if the trust had helped him find another shop
to lease and start trading again, he would not have involved
Mr Ayers' wife, Jo, said they could take the trust to court
but it was an expensive process and they still expected a
''We were good tenants and we were there for nearly five
years and religiously paid our rent every week - no problems
- and then it's a slap in the face.''
The trust, in a letter through its solicitor, Stuart Anderson
at Race and Douglas, said the gap was not a failure to
provide long-term maintenance.
''There was a single event upon a date which could not be
determined. There was no gradual deterioration, as there
would have been more damage ... the DCC intervened to
frustrate the lease.''
Mr Anderson, when contacted, could not provide details on how
the council intervened.
Council chief building control officer Neil McLeod said the
council's building services had never condemned the building
and had not intervened to frustrate the lease.
''What happened was, while the owners of the building were
carrying out some maintenance work, the owner discovered the
building was quite poorly maintained and in a shoddy
condition and they employed engineers and, as a result of
that discovery, applied to us for a demolition consent.''
The trust had decided to demolish and rebuild, rather than
repair the building, he said.
''They had found some issues with the building and they chose
a solution for it. At no stage did the council condemn the
Steve Brocklebank, the son of trustee Norma Brocklebank, who
owns the building, said the trust's insurance company did not
pay out either.
''They believed it was gradual decline and deterioration but,
having said that, I find that hard to believe because the gap
between the facade and the roof was quite significant.''
The damage could have been gradual deterioration, but was
more likely a one-off event because a gradual gap would have
exposed the tenants to the weather and the tenants never
''We've never refused to repair anything and there's never
been any indication there was a problem.''
The damage to the building had frustrated the lease, he said.