Keisha left house 'massively damaged'

By Amelia Wade

Keisha Castle-Hughes and Michael Graves rented the property in Mt Eden, but left without repairing the damage their landlord says they blamed on their sub-tenants. Photo /  Norrie Montgomery
Keisha Castle-Hughes and Michael Graves rented the property in Mt Eden, but left without repairing the damage their landlord says they blamed on their sub-tenants. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Keisha Castle-Hughes' former landlord is taking her and on-off boyfriend Michael Graves to the Tenancy Tribunal, claiming $4000 of damage to his $1.4 million Mt Eden house while they were tenants.

Roger McCracken leased his Mt Eden home to the couple in November 2010 for one year after finding them charming and pleasant. But when their agreement ended last year, he said he was horrified at the state the house was left in by the 21-year-old and Graves, 22.

He is now seeking $4000 for the damage to his property and a further $1800 to cover costs of rubbish left in the garage.

The case will be heard before the Tenancy Tribunal tomorrow.

Mr McCracken, manager of Comfortel Furniture New Zealand, bought his Kakariki Ave six-bedroom, four-bathroom 300sq m home in 2007 but decided to rent it out in 2010 because he had to go away on business.

He said he found Castle-Hughes and Mr Graves "quite charming and pleasant", and knew the actress had the "financial ability" to rent because of her work.

"I had a lot of people wanting to rent the house and there were some pretty rough types ... So I thought, 'Well, why not them?'."

The weekly rent for the fully-furnished house was $1275, and under the terms of the agreement, Castle-Hughes and Mr Graves could let out the other rooms.

But not long after they moved in, Mr McCracken said he started getting complaints of party noise from neighbours.

When he returned from overseas early last year, he inspected the house and pointed out to them a number of things that needed repair or replacement.

"They were very apologetic and said, 'Yes, it will be fixed, we've had problems with some of our tenants'. And I said, 'Well that's not my concern. My concern is that you are responsible for the lease and you're blaming everybody else but it doesn't wash with me - you're here every day of the week, you control the place'."

He said he gave them a list of items to fix. "But they just never did it - it's totally irresponsible, there's no two ways about it."

They moved out on November 27 and Mr McCracken claimed his house was left "massively damaged".

Among other complaints, he claimed there was irreparable damage to the carpet in the lounge which was sullied with dog poo and other stains. Keeping a dog was against the terms of the agreement. A professional cleaner was not able to return the carpet to its former condition and so it needed to be replaced, Mr McCracken claimed, adding it would cost him $1800.

He said the damage totalled $4040.

"I don't know if they did it or if it was their tenants who they had staying with them, but they were the signatories of the lease.

"I'm not actually doing this for the money ... I'm doing this to teach [them] a lesson."

Castle-Hughes and Mr Graves could not be contacted, but the actress' agent said: "The Herald must be seriously short of real news this week."

On Tuesday, Mr Graves was remanded on bail by the Auckland District Court after he was charged with assaulting Castle-Hughes after an Oscars party at the Pullman Hotel.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 28 Nov 2014 02:30:48 Processing Time: 496ms