Auckland renting family awarded $17k from landlord over rats, yellow water, rotten floors

The tenants say rats chewed through wiring, damaging electrical devices.
The tenants say rats chewed through wiring, damaging electrical devices. Photo credit: iStock

A family renting in Auckland has been awarded $17,451 by the Tenancy Tribunal after it ruled their landlord failed to fix their mouldy, rotten, rat-damaged home.

The Cardon-Smith family rented the Hillsborough house from the landlord Southbridge Trustee Limited from April 2017 to July 2020.

But from the start, the family says they had issues with its condition, and subsequently went to the Tenancy Tribunal arguing their landlord failed to maintain the property and failed to fix the issues fast enough.

The Tenancy Tribunal summed up their complaints in a decision released late last month, including:

  • The ceilings were mouldy
  • The tap water was yellow and had particles of metal in it
  • The bathroom floor was rotten in parts and was only patched towards the end of the tenancy
  • There were leaks in a bedroom ceiling and along the wall adjourning the laundry and toilet
  • There were problems with the power because not all power points or lights would work. Some would spark and caused damage to electric devices
  • There were rats that chewed through wiring, also damaging electrical devices

Southbridge Trustees Limited argued it had dealt to the issues as they were raised, and the  Cardon-Smith family had denied access to its contractor which delayed some of the work.

However Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator Phillip McKinstry found Southbridge Trustees Limited had breached its responsibility to provide and maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair.

He awarded the Cardon-Smiths $15,000 in compensation, $1941 for property damaged by rats or the faulty power supply, and $1000 in exemplary damages.