'Neighbours from hell' give up their fight

By Andrew Koubaridis

The Auckland family dubbed "the neighbours from hell" have finally called it quits and are moving from their Auckland home after a two-year battle with Housing New Zealand.

Sharon Salt and her children have until the end of March to leave their Rangeview Rd, Mt Albert, house after Mrs Salt terminated her tenancy agreement.

Her decision to leave the house voluntarily came just before she was due to appear before the Tenancy Tribunal where Housing New Zealand was seeking to evict the family for a third time.

The Salts have been accused of causing mayhem on the street and upsetting neighbours who eventually made Housing New Zealand take the family to the tenancy tribunal, which ruled in their favour.

Housing New Zealand appealed and at yesterday's hearing, Housing New Zealand manager Villy Kotze said Mrs Salt had written advising she was going to leave voluntarily.

In the letter Mrs Salt said she was in poor health, had been in hospital and wanted to avoid a "long, drawn-out hearing" that would affect her health and her children.

She also claimed no problems had existed since the last hearing in 2007, although that was not accepted by Housing New Zealand's lawyers.

Mr Kotze said Mrs Salt accepted it might not be appropriate for them to move elsewhere in Mt Albert "given the circumstances", but hoped to move close by because her children went to primary school in the area.

Housing New Zealand said it would assist the Salts to find a home outside of state housing.

Mrs Salt told the Herald yesterday she did not have the resources to keep fighting and had terminated the tenancy agreement.

"The media has driven this, the media has had a lot to do with this ... you've done nothing but crucified me," she said.

Mrs Salt, who has four weeks to leave, said she had "nowhere else to go".

The family have lived in Rangeview Rd for 14 years.

Housing New Zealand chief executive Lesley McTurk said Mrs Salt's decision to leave voluntarily meant a third tribunal hearing was not needed.

She said Housing New Zealand had sought to evict the Salts because of their negative effect on the community and their neighbours.

"We sought to end this tenancy because we felt the activities of the household were having a considerable negative impact on the community, and on neighbours. The obligations of the tenant to her neighbours were not being upheld," Dr McTurk said.

When the Herald visited Rangeview Rd yesterday, Housing New Zealand staff were informing neighbours of the result.

Constable Nigel Turnbull said it was a "fair and right" outcome for the family and represented the "feeling of the community".

- NZ Herald

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