Auckland landlord ordered to pay tenants $10,000 after fracturing one's shoulder, making them homeless after fight

Landlord ordered to pay tenants over $10,000.
Landlord ordered to pay tenants over $10,000. Photo credit: Google Maps

An Auckland landlord has been forced to pay his tenants over $10,000 after he made them homeless following a fight, which left one of them with a broken shoulder.

The couple had been living in an unconsented converted garage in Meadowbank at the address of the landlord - Santokh Singh.

The tenants and the landlord were on good terms, with Singh often coming around to visit and socialise with them, according to the decision from the Tenancy Tribunal.

But the relationship deteriorated when the tenants became tired of the landlord always coming over.

The tenants said they told Singh not to come to their place "singing and banging on the door disturbing our peace when we wanted to enjoy the place between us", according to the Tenancy Tribunal.

"The landlord’s friends and family were at our place uninvited to stay for longer than anticipated," the tenants said.

The tenants felt the landlord invaded their privacy.

The tensions came to a head during the 2021 COVID-19 level 4 lockdown when a disagreement escalated into a physical altercation which left one of the tenants with a fractured shoulder

Following the altercation, the landlord evicted the tenants without notice, leaving them homeless and they had to spend several months in emergency housing as a result.

"We were kicked out by Mr. Singh on the date of the incident. He came at night and start banging on our door to get us out. We packed our 2 suitcases in the early morning and left our house (sic)," the tenants told the Tribunal.

Singh also turned off the couple's electricity at least twice, which resulted in the tenants having a "hot and uncomfortable night without air conditioning and the food in their refrigerator spoiled".

Tribunal adjudicator Robert Kee ruled the landlord interfered with the tenants’ reasonable peace, comfort, or privacy of their use of the premises and ordered Singh to pay the couple $5000 for emotional harm.

Singh argued he shouldn't be fined because he lived at the property next to the converted garage -  therefore the Residential Tenancies Act did not apply.

But Kee ruled the tenants lived independently of the main house, so the Act did apply.

The couple also had $4828 of their rent refunded because the garage did not have a building consent.

Kee ordered Singh to pay $333 for not lodging their bond, $450 for interfering with the electricity and $20 for a filing fee to bring the total to $10,632.