Tauranga tenants ordered to pay over 30k for damage to property

Tauranga tenants ordered to pay over $30,000 in damages by the tribunal.
Tauranga tenants ordered to pay over $30,000 in damages by the tribunal. Photo credit: Getty Images

Tenants at a home in Tauranga have been ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal to pay over $30,000 for the extensive damage they caused.

Chayse Russell and Shaniz Young had a two-year tenancy which started in July 2019 and ended in July 2021.

In February 2021, a routine inspection was conducted at the property where the landlords found extensive damage.

This included: dents on the wall, scribbles on the wallpaper, several new carpet stains and water damage to the bathroom vanity.

Russell also caused extensive damage to the walls and doors when he had kicked and punched holes in them.

He said the damages occurred as a result of a mental breakdown during the COVID lockdown.

The tribunal found the damages were intentional.

"At no stage prior to the February 2021 inspection did the tenants notify the landlord of the damage. Instead, they attempted to cover up the damage by doing their own repairs without the landlord's consent."

The tribunal also found the carpet was stained with animal urine which breached the tenancy agreement to not have pets living at the property.

"This is not only a breach of the condition of the tenancy agreement prohibiting pets but by allowing the pet to remain inside the tenants have allowed the situation to continue knowing that the damage would be a certainty."

Landlords Gordon and Susan Oakley also claimed the tenants used the property to grow and smoke cannabis which is illegal under the Misuses of Drugs Act (MDA)

Russell and Young denied this and provided photos of various plants which they said could've easily been mistaken for a cannabis plant.

The tribunal also found the landlord said the tenants refused to allow an electrician to enter the premises to fix a light, allow an insurance assessor to assess damages to the property for repairs, a roofer to carry out repairs and for someone to fix a showerhead and a kitchen drawer.

In an email, Young said: "We do not agree with the way you have reworded Chayse's words from the day of inspection in this email and do not agree that there has been any careless damage to the property."

Three hearings were held on July 13 2021, November 23 2021 and February 16, 2021.

On May 10, 2022, the tribunal order the tenants to pay the landlord a total of $30,878.92.