Landlord claims tenant hid 10-ton rock from him

A landlord's rocky relationship with a tenant has taken a bizarre turn, with his preposterous" claims being dismissed by the Tenancy Tribunal.

Steve Robertson bought the Whanganui property in November 2018, while the tenant was still living there. She moved out in February 2019.

He claimed she owed him for $5166 for work on the garden, including the removal of a huge rock and three tonnes of concrete slabs, as well as weed removal.

He claimed the rock, estimated at around eight to 10 tons, had not been there when he bought the property - but the tenant produced photos showing it was there in 2016.  

Robertson still wasn't convinced, and said he believed the tenant hired a crane to remove the rock when he viewed the property and then put it back when he bought it.

"I find the suggestion preposterous," the tribunal said in its order. "Robertson's own maintenance man stated the rock was imbedded at least two metres underground and 2016 photographs show it was in the ground at that time."

Roberson's other claims relating to the garden, that the tenant had buried concrete slabs underground and failed to remove weeds, were also dismissed.

The tribunal said it was highly unlikely the tenant would have buried the concrete and added to the existing concrete in the property. They also said the weeds were sufficiently cleared, considering the amount of concrete in the ground would have made gardening hard.

Robertson's claim the tenant failed to clean out weeds from under the deck was also dismissed, with the judge saying that's the landlord's responsibility.

Robertson had twice been called before the tribunal in May after failing to repay the tenant's bond. He claimed the bond was under the previous property manager's name, but the tribunal found it had been transferred to his name - and ordered him to pay the tenant. He asked for a rehearing later in May, but was declined as he had not filed any cross-application.