Damp Dunedin flats: Could this be the worst?
Monday 24 Mar 2014 6:03 p.m.
When five third-year students shifted in to their Dunedin flat on February 17, they were shocked to find the house filthy, the floor crawling with maggots, and the previous tenants had left quite a lot of their belongings, some unusual pictures and a box of cannabis.
One of the tenants, Page Bill, remembers discovering a cannabis-growing setup in one of the rooms, including watering cans, soil, lights and a bong in their bath.
Dunedin's got a reputation for dodgy, dingy student flats - but this one probably takes the cake.
Ms Bill is one of five Otago University students who shifted into their place four weeks ago, only to discover a house of horrors.
When she first saw the place, she immediately regretted the decision to move in.
"My flat last year I thought was bad, but it was amazing compared to this."
To make things worse, their landlord, Kamal Slaimankhel, has not been cooperative in the situation.
Whilst the five flatmates were showing Campbell Live around the flat, he stopped by and asked for the camera to be turned off.
Mr Slaimankhel was happy to talk, as long as the camera wasn’t rolling.
But with camera clearly still rolling, he then asked the girls to take him on a tour of the property to show him what was wrong.
The box was found in the attic, which the girls discovered only by accident.
The girls went on to show Mr Slaimankhel that the hot water cylinder is leaking, light fittings are hanging out, and they explained how there were only five light bulbs for the whole house when the girls moved in.
Chloe Wilson, one of the five tenants, described how there was no letterbox when they arrived, so when they looked up the property on Google Maps they discovered that the house was listed as a pharmacy.
Ms Wilson and the rest of the tenants tried to raise the issue with Mr Slaimankhel but he just "shunned it off".
"He said he'll sort it out later and yeah, he just hasn't done anything about it."
Mr Slaimankhel is not convinced that the girls are telling the truth.
"The letterbox was here, obviously someone has damaged it or removed it," says Mr Slaimankhel. "I've told the girls I'm happy to fix all those things but they haven't paid me eight weeks of rent."
The girls signed a lease from January 1 but decided to withhold the rent and bond they owed when they shifted in mid-February until all the problems were fixed.
The girls have saved the back pay and they have been paying rent while living there.
He wants the girls to pay the rest of what they owe dating back to January.
Mr Slaimankhel says that he is a very busy man as he has two businesses to run, but he is trying really hard to fix the problems.
And, it seems maybe he is. The girls told Campbell Live over the weekend they got light bulbs, and Mr Slaimankhel has offered to pay for a professional cleaner.