P-using former tenants ordered to pay Housing New Zealand more than $51,000

A former Whangarei tenant was ordered to pay Housing New Zealand more than $17,000 to cover P-contamination costs. Photo / Michael Cunningham
A former Whangarei tenant was ordered to pay Housing New Zealand more than $17,000 to cover P-contamination costs. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Housing New Zealand is seeking more than $50,000 from P-using former tenants who have contaminated state houses.

Two Tenancy Tribunal rulings have ordered two former tenants to pay more than $51,000 because of damage wreaked by methamphetamine.

Housing NZ today said one was ordered to pay more than $34,000 over her contaminated Ashburton house, and a former Whangarei tenant was ordered to pay more than $17,000.

In total, the state-house provider is chasing "remediation costs of up to $54,000" on the two properties.

This month it was revealed almost a quarter of the 19 dwellings in a Christchurch state housing development had been contaminated in the nine months since they were built.

Housing NZ spends about $12 million to $13 million a year on remedial work. Five of its properties were demolished in the 2015 financial year because they were damaged beyond repair.

Housing NZ's chief operating officer Paul Commons today said the tribunal decisions were welcomed.

"We will not be taking a backward step in addressing this issue. The rulings send a strong message to all of our tenants - Housing New Zealand will not tolerate criminal activity in its homes and we will move swiftly to end tenancies where it occurs," he said.

"The rulings also help ensure that the financial burden for remediation work does not fall to the taxpayer and we are being more vigilant than ever around retrieving costs from 'offending' tenants."

Housing NZ will involve other government bodies such as police and CYF when necessary.

Mr Commons said P-contamination also left vulnerable people on the social housing register with longer waits for accommodation while properties were cleaned

Sometimes that took up to three months.

Mr Commons said Housing NZ was considering testing all vacant state houses for P-contamination.

What the judgments say:

• The Ashburton tenant was ordered to pay $34,177.76 in costs, including:

Initial screening test: $494.50

Detailed chemical testing: $3974.23

Clearing grounds: $3881.25

Decontamination and waste disposal: $24,925.68

Retesting: $1603.61

• The Whangarei tenant was ordered to pay $17,138.03 in costs.

• Housing NZ's average national costs are:

Initial Test: $750

Decontamination: $10,000

Retesting: $1600

- NZ Herald

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