Meth tenants ordered to pay thousands to landlords

A Christchurch tenant who made off with a stained glass window and smoked methamphetamine in her flat has been ordered to pay almost $12,000 to her landlord.

Kerry Lee Harper was the second Christchurch tenant in a week to be hit with thousands of dollars in damage claims at the Tenancy Tribunal as a result of meth contamination.

She must now hand over $11,558 to Champagne Homes, including $3145 for meth testing, $800 for the replacement of a stained glass window and $5640 for cleaning and re-painting her rental.

With Harper failing to attend the tribunal hearing, the adjudicator backed all the claims put forward by Champagne Homes.

The company said it had significantly repaired the rental before giving it to Harper, but that once her tenancy ended, they found a stained glass window removed from an inside door and the walls contaminated with meth.

Fronting the Tenancy Tribunal in a separate hearing, fellow Christchurch tenant Minna O'Toole was also ordered to pay $13,241 to her landlord Holmwood Real Estate.

The company told the hearing O'Toole or others had smoked meth in the rental, leading to it spending more than $12,000 on meth testing and cleaning costs.

It said there were clear signs O'Toole had been taking drugs in the rental during the last six months of her tenancy.

"The tenant's behaviour changed. She became irrational and appeared cut off. Her eyes rolled in her head and she could not maintain eye contact," the landlord told the tribunal.

"While she had previously kept the premises reasonably clean and tidy, it became filthy.

There were little bags containing marijuana and butane bottles in the premises."

Meth testing also showed the rental exceeded contamination levels of 15 µg/100cm² currently used as a guideline after being backed by the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister Sir Peter Gluckman.

"In the circumstances, I accept that the proposed decontamination is necessary to
get the premises to a reasonably clean and tidy state," the adjudicator wrote.

"The [damage] amounts ordered are proved."

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