New bid to get rid of 'neighbours from hell'

By David Eames

Housing NZ lawyers were back in the Auckland District Court yesterday in a second attempt to have the alleged "neighbours from hell" - the Salt family of Mt Albert - evicted from their home.

The Salts - led by matriarch Sharon Salt - found national notoriety in the middle of last year after desperate Range View Rd neighbours forced Housing NZ to take the family to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Numerous complaints had been made about the family's so-called reign of terror on the street.

They included accusations that out-of-control Salt offspring - of whom there are 10 - were vandalising property, assaulting others and generally causing mayhem.

At last June's hearing, Housing NZ manager Villy Coetze said exasperated neighbours had claimed Salt family members urinated on fences and shot fireworks at other residents.

But Salt lawyer John Foliaki said at the time that the claims were "malicious and false".

"There was talk about gang retaliation and witnesses having to be protected or move house. It was all getting out of hand. At one stage I thought I was in the middle of a Sopranos case."

The tribunal eventually found in favour of the Salts, rejecting Housing NZ arguments and leaving neighbours - many of whom had given evidence at the hearing - feeling vulnerable.

This week's hearing - set down for two days - will decide whether the Tenancy Tribunal must re-hear Housing NZ's case against the Salts.

Housing NZ lodged the appeal last year after identifying what it believes were a series of significant errors of law and fact in the tribunal's decision, the corporation said.

A decision on a second eviction hearing will likely come at the end of this week's hearing.

- NZ Herald

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