Scared Auckland residents beg Kāinga Ora to evict neighbour over claims of violence, drug use, theft and noisy parties

Neighbours say they've put up with violence, intimidation and noisy parties for years.
Neighbours say they've put up with violence, intimidation and noisy parties for years. Photo credit: Google Maps

Note: All names have been changed to protect the people involved.

Residents of a quiet south Auckland street are pleading with Kāinga Ora to evict their neighbour, saying years of complaints over violence, drug use, intimidation, theft and noisy parties have fallen on deaf ears.

Neighbours have made regular complaints about the tenant over the years she has lived there, alleging her home is a meeting spot for gang affiliates and that police are there frequently to deal with domestic violence callouts.

One resident is now actively looking to move his family out of Auckland altogether after his five-year-old son was left with anxiety from allegedly being chased by the tenant's dog and then watching his mother be assaulted by two female occupants of the property.

Another neighbour, herself a Kāinga Ora customer, says she's put in a request with the agency to move her out of the neighbourhood.

Despite Kāinga Ora saying it "takes the complaints about disruptive behaviour very seriously", the tenant has been allowed to continue living in the property without repercussions, though she is now being offered support to "improve her behaviour as a neighbour".

Their experience is the latest in a litany of stories about the inaction of Kāinga Ora, which has come under fire after it was revealed not a single tenant had been evicted from their homes in more than three years.

'We're looking at a way out'

Newshub spoke to three neighbours on the quiet residential street, each of whom had had run-ins with the tenant or people staying in her house.

One of them, Jonah, says his then-five-year-old son was traumatised by an incident earlier this year involving a visitor's dog.

"Their dog crossed the road to our side, where my son was playing, and he panicked and ran up the driveway and the dog chased him," he recounts. "It never attacked him and bit him or anything… but my son is on the spectrum and it really flipped him out."

The situation was inflamed when Jonah's wife came out of the house to see what had made her son so upset.

"She chased the dog out of the driveway, and they had come out of their property. My wife basically yelled at them 'get your f**king dog under control' - and then, without hesitation, her and her sister came over and started attacking her."

Jonah alleges one of the women repeatedly tried to punch his wife while another attempted to pull her down to the ground. She was able to hold them off until a neighbour came out of their house and split them up, he says.

His wife didn't suffer any injuries other than a mark on her rear, but Jonah says it's left his son, now six, with major anxiety. He is now terrified of dogs and won't play out the front of his house for fear of the occupants of the Kāinga Ora house across the street.

The family is now looking to leave the neighbourhood, and ultimately the entire Auckland region.

"We are currently actively looking at a way out of our situation. We can't really afford to - that's the problem - but we've set a soft goal of within a year, we really want to be out of not only that street and our current situation, but out of town altogether," Jonah tells Newshub.

"Our business is kind of an anchor on that. We can't go too far from Auckland, and we can't go closer into Auckland because we can't afford it, so we're both kind of wracking our brains one way or another just to get out of where we are."

Neighbours 'afraid to be outside'

In addition to the alleged assault, Jonah claims his wife has been unwelcomely propositioned by men staying at the property, and says occupants of the house have been seen smoking P and partying loudly through the night on multiple occasions.

He says they're terrible neighbours.

"No respect, no consideration, they've got no intention of integrating into the community. Other neighbours might be like, 'can I borrow your mower?' but they would be more inclined just to steal it."

Fellow neighbour Leonie tells Newshub it often turns violent and police will turn up. On one occasion, six officers were called in to deal with a particularly bad fight, she says.

"There's just too much violence going on, domestic violence, fighting inside the home, drink-ups at early hours of the morning, yelling and screaming.

"Neighbours are afraid to be outside… they've just got that kind of personality and behaviour. There's a lot of things going on at that house that are criminal activity. It's just become a bit of a headache to all of us."

Another neighbour, Linda, says she's "never seen a house with so many police coming".

"I've seen three big fights, I think... I've seen broken windows from things being thrown outside," she says.

"If they have a fight, they really have a fight... I'm scared of them half the time, that's why most times I don't say anything for what I see. I've always got it in my head 'don't retaliate'."

Leonie says she's had a few arguments with the tenant and others staying at the house - it's hard to avoid, given she shares a driveway with them - but she generally tries to stay on their good side to reduce the risk of retaliation, sometimes dropping them off some kai.

But she says she's been forced to call the police over the years after catching them stealing things off her doorstep.

"I've had packages being delivered to my home being taken, them signing for my packages pretending to be me," Leonie explains.

"I have avoided all situations where conflict could happen, but once they come onto our property, I can't not confront them - but the only thing you get from them is just lies, lies and lies. I need to get some cameras put around my home, but that costs money. I shouldn't even have to do that."

Leonie, who is also a Kāinga Ora tenant, would like to leave her property.

She's already asked the agency for a transfer somewhere closer to her whānau, but doesn't expect her request to be granted as she's already housed and there are other families already on a waitlist for a house.

Kāinga Ora responds

Jonah, Leonie and Linda all believe the tenant should be evicted, and they say other neighbours agree. But Kāinga Ora hasn't taken that action despite a variety of complaints over the years.

"I just think that Kāinga Ora needs to also consider us, everyone that's putting in these complaints, because we have a right as well," Leonie says.

"I know the tenant has a right to stay in the home and all that stuff. But it seems like [Kāinga Ora are] always just telling us to get a report, or put it to the police, or ring noise control - all that stuff which we are doing - but they're still not doing anything about it.

"It's just unfair for all of us to have to put up with it for so many years."

This approach from the Government agency - to not evict troublesome tenants despite complaints - is one that's been replicated across the country, with it last month being revealed not a single Kāinga Ora tenant had been evicted since 2018.

But Kāinga Ora insists it "takes complaints about disruptive behaviour very seriously", and has been working with the tenant to improve her behaviour.

"Kāinga Ora takes complaints about disruptive behaviour very seriously. We want our customers and the communities they live in to thrive, and to support this we listen and act on complaints about customers with empathy and understanding," regional director Angela Pearce tells Newshub.

"In this situation, we have been working closely with our customer to address complaints, and to provide appropriate support services, which has included resolving an issue caused by wider family members.

"With this situation, we have identified the cause and contributing factors, and are continuing to support our customer towards improving her behaviour as a neighbour."

Pearce says Kāinga Ora had not been made aware of the alleged assault, and advises Jonah and his partner to report those situations to police so they can be "substantiated and dealt with appropriately".

"In fairness to all parties, we do check with noise control and police to confirm incidents have been raised with them, and in this situation the assault claim was never reported."

Jonah tells Newshub they opted not to kick up a fuss because they didn't want to risk retaliation.

He says he wants Kāinga Ora to kick them out - though he admits he doesn't know what the ultimate solution is.

He understands that if his neighbours are evicted, then somebody else will have to live by them - but he doesn't believe having them in the community is "helpful to them or to us".

"I don't want to sound like they shouldn't be integrated with the general public if they want to - that's not really who I am or how I feel," he said. "But we shouldn't have to live with that or deal with that either, you know?"

Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams tells Newshub everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in their own homes.

"There is not a 'no evictions' policy," she says. "The sustaining tenancies policy introduced by National to avoid tenants - often including children - becoming homeless, involves management of some very complex situations, where a range of Government agencies provide wrap-around support.  

"We are looking at how the policy is being implemented and if any changes are needed to ensure it is working as it should be."

Williams says 159 households have been relocated over the last 12 months.

Pearce says Kāinga Ora seeks good outcomes not just for tenants but their neighbours as well, and would look to move a customer if issues can't be resolved and a suitable alternative home is available.

However she says Kāinga Ora will sustain a tenancy wherever possible, and carefully consider the "destabilising impacts" a move could have for a tenant and their family before choosing whether or not to evict them. 

"While Kāinga Ora has the legal right to end a tenancy, experience has shown it does not solve problems. The impact on families, and on children, who make up half the people we house, can be traumatic and long-lasting.

"Evicted people still need housing, creating a revolving door. Problems compound and perpetuate. This may include moving away from support networks of friends and whānau, and uprooting children from education."

Kāinga Ora has recently adopted new approaches to improve its ability to support behaviour change where needed, Pearce says.

"These include formal partnerships with justice, social and health agencies, specialised intervention teams, tenant retransfer policies and community-based teams."