Rental nightmare on Elgin street
A TRASHED property in Elgin is an example of why Gisborne has a housing crisis, a landlord says.
Littered though every room of the four-bedroom home were piles of broken glass and mirrors.
Animal faeces and cigarette butts were scattered on the carpet, and discarded sheets of pills and personal belongings strewn inside and out.
At least six windows had been broken, paint had been poured on the carpet, thrown at the walls and words written in black paint — including a hit list — on inside walls.
Knives were also left in one wall and holes made by an axe in others. The landlord of five years says this is why there is a shortage of rentals.
“I gave her notice and she trashed the place. Why would you want to put yourself through this?”
The large home has two bathrooms, a log fire, double garage and a sleepout on a big section in Elgin. It was rented out for $300 a week and completely trashed over two days.
The landlord said the tenant was a woman in her mid-20s and a mother of two.
“She’s been here for five to six years and was an awesome tenant. We used to get on so well.”
The landlord said the tenant was 19 years old when she was given the tenancy in her name because they wanted to give her a chance.
But the landlords were recently given a heads-up that their tenant had “gone off the rails”.
An inspection a few weeks ago showed the property was “generally tidy” but the tenant had moved in four or five people who were not on the tenancy, said the landlord.
“She had not notified me and it was going to be extra wear and tear on the house.”
The tenant was given three months to move out. Her tenancy did not expire until the end of next month.
The next thing the landlords knew, they were being told their tenant was posting on social media about how she was throwing her things out the window, and doing burn-outs on the property.
When they went to the house, they found carnage and devastation.
Rotting food and faecesInside and outside the property was the stench of rotting food and faeces.
A dog with puppies had lived inside the house and even after three flea bombs, one of the bedrooms was still so infested fleas could be seen jumping on to legs when anyone entered the room.
“She has threatened us and gone to our home and tried to smash our car windscreen.”
The landlords are covered by insurance for most of the damage but not for the clean-up.
“The insurance company has said because most of the mess is classified as belongings. They don’t want to get involved in case they get accused of stealing.”
The insurance company will be conducting a methamphetamine test.
Gisborne has a chronic shortage of rental homes, and rents have increased.
The Trade Me rental price index for November showed Gisborne rents jumped 18.8 percent in one month, the third-highest increase in the country.
A Gisborne Herald online poll last week showed more than half of respondents felt that trouble with the tenants was behind the rental shortage.
Some former landlords said they would never rent out a house again.
Nothing worseBronwyn Kay Agency property manager Steve Phillips said he sympathised with the landlord as there was nothing worse than having your home wrecked or vandalised.
“Landlords are not allowed to act in a retaliatory manner but it seems it's OK for tenants to do so when they are given a 90-day notice to vacate,” he said.
“The only recourse open to this landlord is to seek recovery through the Tenancy Tribunal.”
Mr Phillips stressed that over 90 percent of the tenants were reasonable people who would not dream of doing this sort of thing.
“It is a shame that probably 5 to 10 percent of tenants act in this manner.”
The Elgin landlord said she knew there was a supply and demand problem contributing to the chronic shortage of rentals but there was also a huge problem with tenants not respecting property.
Unfortunately for tenants who have good references, the shortage is affecting them as well.
The landlord said she and her husband had lived in the property for four years before they bought another house.
They decided to keep this one as a rental and an investment for their children.