A sign reading "slumlord clean up this house" in capital letters has been erected by a disgruntled resident on the overgrown lawn of a Titirangi property.

The sign has been up for weeks after long-term tenants moved out of the rental which is overgrown, has broken windows and has rubbish strewn about it.

However the property rental company involved says the damage is the fault of previous tenants.

A neighbour of the Golf Rd property, who asked the Herald not to be named, said he didn't erect the sign himself but in the four or five years he had been living on the street he had never seen the property maintained.

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The same tenants had been living there for years, complaining of locks which didn't work, holes in walls and no working smoke alarm, he said.

"One word, squalor, would describe it."

The man had investigated the property after the tenants moved out three weeks ago, finding rubbish everywhere, wiring in rooms which didn't work and, he suspected, the carpet full of fleas.

A neighbour said if the landlord had maintained his property in the first place, things wouldn't have got so out of hand. Photo / Brett Phibbs
A neighbour said if the landlord had maintained his property in the first place, things wouldn't have got so out of hand. Photo / Brett Phibbs

There also rats seen on the property and flooding occurred after rain because the piping didn't work properly.

"It's unsafe for people," he said.

The unnamed resident said he and other neighbours had tried to contact the landlord and the letting agency over the years but they were "like a ghost - you hardly see them".

The landlord had failed in his obligation to keep his property habitable and the letting agency had failed in not conducting regular inspections and making sure the tenants were keeping the house clean, the man said.

"It's been let to get so far, and people are getting away with it.

"If the landlord had maintained his property, there'd be no problem."

The man said he did not know who put the sign up, but imagined it was "someone who was concerned about the state of it, which I would agree."

Complaints had been made to Auckland Council but an inspector had told him no bylaws had been broken so council had no power to act.

Clothing left behind by the former tenants at the Titirangi rental. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Clothing left behind by the former tenants at the Titirangi rental. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Auckland Council compliance response manager Max Wilde confirmed two complaints about the property had been received in the last month.

"The complaints referred to the section being overgrown and rubbish being left on the site.

"Investigation from our compliance team found that no bylaws were being breached."

After being contacted by the Herald, bylaw compliance staff visited the property again.

"We made an informal visit to the property and spoke with the property owner who is currently in the process of removing rubbish from the site," Wilde said.

The overgrown lawn outside the now empty Golf Rd property. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The overgrown lawn outside the now empty Golf Rd property. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The purpose of the council's Property Maintenance and Nuisance Bylaw was to ensure private property is maintained in such a manner that it does not create a nuisance, he said.

"It does not cover properties purely for amenity purpose."

An ABC Property spokesperson told the Herald they had applied with the tenancy Tribunal for possession while the house was occupied.

This was because of the level of rubbish and disrepair at the property, which they claimed was caused by the tenants.

"We finally granted possession, and already arranged people to clean the rubbish and repair all damages," they wrote via email.

The cost for lost rent, cleaning and damages was high, they said.

The Herald has tried to contact the property's landlord but has been unable to reach him for comment.