Ruling leaves landlord $10k out of pocket

Dunedin landlord Vic Inglis is ‘‘pretty dark and twisted’’ after his former tenant from a Luke St...
Dunedin landlord Vic Inglis is ‘‘pretty dark and twisted’’ after his former tenant from a Luke St property won the right to $10,000 rent repayment through the Tenancy Tribunal. Photo: Peter McIntosh.
A Dunedin landlord says he feels robbed after being ordered to refund more than $10,000  rent to a former tenant because of a legal technicality.

Vic Inglis says he and his wife are feeling "pretty dark and twisted" after the Tenancy Tribunal found Natalie Parry’s tenancy was unlawful — and therefore she was entitled to a refund of all rent paid — because unpermitted alterations had been made to the two-storey home’s downstairs area.

The couple bought the Luke St house at auction as it now stands. Unbeknown to them alterations had deviated from the plans submitted to the Dunedin City Council during its build.

The couple lived in the home before renting it to Ms Parry between July 30 last year and February 21.

Mr Inglis conceded some fault lay with him as he had not sought a LIM report and the first time he saw plans for the home was when they were presented to him by Ms Parry, as well as her intention to seek refund of all rent through the Tenancy Tribunal.

In April, the tribunal found Ms Parry had entered into an unlawful tenancy due to the unpermitted work on the home’s bottom floor.

Due to that, section 137 (4) of the Residential Tenancies Act came into effect meaning Ms Parry was entitled to a full refund of rent of $10,960.44.It also meant Mr Inglis’ counterclaim for $3519 for compensation and exemplary damages could not proceed and was dismissed.‘‘It’s been the darkest six months for a long time,’’ he said.

"It’s been a nightmare.

"We have managed to sell the property so we can pay her back. But should we have to? No."

Upon learning of the issues with the house Mr Inglis sought a certificate of acceptance for the work which deviated from the original plans. That was issued on March 28 and stated the work was excellent.

However, that held no sway with the tribunal, and an application for a rehearing had also been dismissed.

The couple had appealed the decision to the district court.

Mr Inglis claims during the tenancy Ms Parry, her partner and her son lived in the two bedrooms upstairs at the house and she sublet the downstairs area for her profit.

"It was leased to her and her son for cheap rent on the premise it was just for them," he said.

"We got word ... she was effectively using it like a boarding house.‘‘There were cars for Africa and people came and went."

He carried out a property inspection and found evidence of others living in the property, as well as damage.

After informing Ms Parry she would have to leave the property, he was told about the home’s original plans and her intention to take him to the tribunal.

"I didn’t give it much credence," Mr Inglis said.

"I didn’t think she had much of a case.

"The tribunal agreed with her that because part of the property wasn’t permitted it was untenantable."

He could not believe she would behave the way she had, especially considering the agreement to rent it at a lower rate.

When contacted by the Otago Daily Times for her side of the story, Ms Parry declined to comment.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

Comments

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OMG that is amazing and if i read it correctly will start a flood of similar cases for illegal flat conversions?

The landlord has been taken to the cleaners. It would be interesting how Ms Parry found out about the unpermitted alterations? Mr Inglis couldn’t even get the $3,519 back for the damages incurred whilst she resided there. The law is an a**. IMHO this lady with her stance has no shame.

Well I am on the side of the landlord and the Tenancy tribunal should have been too but they are too wrapped up in their own importance and usually side with the tenant in my opinion. The tenant in this case sounds like one of the worst tenants ever. I was taught that you leave a place how you found it but she obviously had a high degree of self entitlement. They say the law is an a** and in this case it certainly is. The tenancy tribunal should be ashamed of itself.

'One of the worst tenants ever'? You can't know that just by the landlord's pov.

Arrangements have to be in law. Tough.

Now that everyone knows her, may she never get a tenancy again until she pays back all she owes him and some more for the undue distress she has caused that poor family Grrr What are these lefty liberal judges doing in positions of power? Where is the justice in our legal process? So angry right now! Where's the crowding fund link to overturn this power hungry crazed ruling and get it thrown out?

Looks like the government is trying to take out landlords as this is the latest in a long list of impositions on landlords. This load of BS needs to be broadcast for the attack on landlords which it is.
Anybody want to buy a Dunedin property? I have places to invest where my money is valued.

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