Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

$50k claim for 'P home' sickness

Landlord knew property was contaminated, $50,000 suit claims.
Methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine.

A family is suing their former landlord for $50,000 after discovering the house they lived in for more than three years was contaminated with P.

Litigant Graham McCready is advocating for the family of three and filed the claim with the Tenancy Tribunal at Pukekohe in January.

A hearing will follow.

The family - a couple and their teenage son - did not want to speak to the Herald on Sunday but McCready described them as a "hardworking, salt-of-the-earth New Zealand family" who were caught up in an awful situation.

The claim is made in the name of family member Belinda Hughes and claims the landlord broke the law by failing to give vacant possession in a fit and tidy condition, and failing to fix those defects when asked by the tenant.

Hughes also claims the landlord failed to comply with Health and Safety Regulations by renting a house to Hughes that was uninhabitable and that the landlord "knew or it is a reasonable inference that they knew that the house had been used for the manufacture of P and did not disclose this fact to [me]."

Hughes is claiming compensation for moving costs, replacement of furniture, bond and a refund of all rent. The amount is more than $67,000, but she has waived claims above $50,000, as that is the maximum the tribunal can award.

The issue was discovered in November, when the house in rural Pollok, near the southwestern Auckland settlement of Waiuku, was put on the market.

A prospective buyer had the property tested for methamphetamine contamination and the results were positive, McCready said.

The landlord was told by an Auckland Council principal environmental health specialist in December the property should be vacant until the contamination level was below Ministry of Health guidelines.

The family, who moved out in January, believe their time in the house affected their health, especially that of their son, who was in the worst-affected bedroom, McCready said.

The boy missed a lot of school because of illness during his important year 11 and 12 school years, he said.

"He had trouble breathing and was taking antihistamine. He had 35 days off in one term alone.

"[The father] also missed a lot of work because of sickness."

The family were forced to burn all their furniture.

The tribunal filing includes copies of the teenage son's school absence records and NCEA results, along with medical notes.

Copies of meth-testing results are also included.

The property was managed by a real estate firm on behalf of the landlord and McCready said the landlord had complained to the tribunal that the tenants did not pay their last six weeks' rent.

He claimed rent was not paid because of an agreement that it would be waived after the positive meth test.

The two claims will be held alongside each other, McCready said.

McCready is known as a serial litigant who tried to sue PM John Key.

- Herald on Sunday

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