Kerre McIvor
Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre McIvor: Trash is as trash does

Richard Tucker says the damage to his home will cost him $16,000 ... but the cost could be much higher. Photo / Campbell Live
Richard Tucker says the damage to his home will cost him $16,000 ... but the cost could be much higher. Photo / Campbell Live

It's no secret that Kiwis have a love affair with property. Any spare money goes into bricks and mortar, rather than a weighty investment portfolio.

Perhaps people were burned in the 1987 stock market crash; perhaps it's a hangover from our colonial past and the desire to acquire land is imprinted on our DNA.

However, analysts who despair that Kiwis with a Monopoly board of rental houses are depriving local companies of much-needed capital would take heart from the Campbell Live story on Monday and Tuesday nights.

It was the sorry tale of Richard Tucker, who rented out his family home when he moved from Christchurch to Ashburton for work. He gave a young couple with two kids a chance and they moved in, paying $300 a week - not bad for a three-bedroom home just a few minutes from the city.

All went well until the young man moved out, then all hell broke loose.

Jewelz became the tenant in charge and, in no time, police were being called to the property regularly to quell fights and out-of-control parties.

Eventually, Richard decided Jewelz had to go.

He went through all the right processes but once Jewelz got the written eviction notice, she and her friends trashed the place. Walls were knocked down, doors torn off their hinges, there was graffiti all over the walls and rubbish piled up all around the property.

It was probably the hardest the 20-year-old solo mother had worked in her life.

Richard estimates the damage will cost around $16,000, but it will be much, much more. Police told him the wilful damage was a civil matter. The Tenancy Tribunal said he would have to track down Jewelz to serve her notice but she had vanished - no mean feat for such a big girl.

The final straw came when his insurance company told him his policy didn't cover wilful damage.

Campbell Live tracked Jewelz down and she was just as charming as you might imagine.

She sprayed foul-mouthed threats down the phone and eventually refused to respond to calls.

Her Facebook page was open for some time but, after scores of people left nasty comments, she had the wit to shut it down to the public.

Richard Tucker will never get his money back from Jewelz. That huckery moll will be sucking off the taxpayer tit for years to come and, even if by some miracle the case does make it to court, Richard will be lucky to see five bucks a week.

This was no grasping, venal landlord, out to rip off the dispossessed and the unfortunate. This was a man renting out his own home while he worked in another city, charging below market rental. And this is how he's repaid.

The thought of having a tenant like Jewelz in your home, and the utter powerlessness to seek redress when things go horribly wrong will probably do more to dampen the overheated housing market than any rise in interest rates.

- Herald on Sunday

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