Auckland renters' massive swimming pool turns yard into a 'bog'

An Auckland couple who installed a pool that "took up the whole backyard" have lost half their bond after it turned the yard into a "bog".

The bizarre case is detailed in a new ruling by the Tenancy Tribunal.

Rachel and Hamish MacDonald moved into the Stonefields property in February 2017 and almost immediately put in the 8m by 4m pool - big enough to hold 30,000 litres of water. 

The landlord knew about it, but didn't ask for its removal.

When the MacDonalds moved out in May 2019, they "made their best efforts to re-sow the grass", according to the tribunal, claiming they left it in a good - "if not better" - condition than when they moved in. 

But the landlord struggled to get the grass to grow, the land compacted after being under 30 tonnes of water for two years. Brenda Higgins, representing owner the Higgins Trust, said the tenants did a "cheap fix" that didn't work.

The pool can be seen in satellite images.
The huge pool can be seen in satellite images. Photo credit: Auckland Council/GeoMaps

It ended up costing them $1975, which the tribunal deducted from the MacDonalds' bond.

Further claims from the landlord - that the tenants' dog had spoiled the curtains and left the gardens in a state - were thrown out, with no evidence they were to blame. 

So was a claim the tenants damaged the curtains by washing them, the tribunal ruling they were trying to do the landlord a favour and didn't realise they'd shrink if washed in water.