Heartache at home left in filth. +Photos

By Merania Karauria



Beneficiary Rebekah Anderson did a runner earlier this month, owing $2000 in back rent and leaving behind a trashed home.

Owner Trevor Schmidt said the damage to his family property, where he and wife Jill brought up their four children over 31 years, was heartbreaking.

He said the clean-up and repair costs would be anywhere between $5000-$8000, plus rent arrears.

Ms Anderson lived in the Carlton Ave rental with her children for two years.

But at the end of January she texted Mr Schmidt saying: "No longer at the house".

Mr Schmidt already knew this, because the bank had notified him earlier in the month that the property mortgage was three weeks in arrears.

And when Mr Schmidt went to visit Ms Anderson, she had moved out and now lives at Maraenui, near Napier.

The Schmidts despair at the way their former home has been trashed, and that Ms Anderson had violated their trust.

Both had major surgery last year, and their ordeal with Ms Anderson has left them scarred.

Mr Schmidt said during his last property inspection at the beginning of December, he told Ms Anderson to tidy up the interior and exterior of the home, remove rubbish bags and mow the lawns.

But she always had an excuse that "a friend was coming with a trailer to remove the rubbish", he added.

That rubbish was never cleared and an outside room was so packed with refuse that Mr Schmidt can't even get in.

He and son Matt said raising children "in the filth is unacceptable".

The house still smells of dog, overstuffed rubbish bags litter the rooms; while rat and mouse droppings are on everything strewn on the floor in a bedroom, and also on the shelves.

Beneath papers, a NZTA demand for $178.88 and empty food packets is a stained and filthy carpet.

The concrete hearth of the small wood burner in the dining room has also been smashed, which Mr Schmidt discovered while moving a small vacuum cleaner.

Tiles on the living room hearth have also been broken.

Two car wheels and car jacks had been left inside while a used baby's nappy is visible outdoors.

A brand new table and chairs bore the brunt of careless living and the dishwasher has been ripped out of the kitchen and dumped outside.

Mr Schmidt said Ms Anderson's former partner, Aaron Nicol, who lived with her, told him she kicked a hole in the wall when she got angry.

When she took the tenancy, Ms Anderson paid $660 as a bond, which has been used to cover rent.

Since May, 2012 Ms Anderson had been consistently $20 short in her weekly rental payment with a total of $160 arrears to that date.

Her last rental payment of $200 - $20 short - was on December 31. Because her property is still in the house, she is technically liable for rent, but Mr Schmidt has drawn a line under February 14.

She has offered to repay him at $50 a week, but Ms Anderson has still to receive a final amount including damages.

The insurance company was also hedging on paying out and is treating all the damages separately which means each will incur a $450 excess. Once again, Mr Schmidt is between a rock and a hard place.

Ms Anderson told Mr Schmidt she could not pay him any money immediately because she had a "massive power account", but Mr Schmidt found a credit note that she had received a $200 refund from the power company.

The Chronicle called Ms Anderson, who denied she had left the house in the state described and said the rat droppings were there from a previous tenant.

When she realised the story would be published in the Chronicle, she ended the call.

A clean-up at the house has been organised for Saturday.

Matt Schmidt said his father had served on the Carlton School committee for 31 years and many of the kids who were at school during that time were coming from Palmerston North and Wellington to help him clean up the property.



Tips for landlords

1: Get the tenant's last landlord's details and ask:

How many residents.

How long the tenant resided there (make sure that tenant and referee have the same answer).

The rent amount (make sure tenant and referee have the same answer).

Was rent paid on time?

Condition of property?

Any access problems for inspections?

Did they have pets? (make sure that tenant and referee have the same answer)

Any damages?

Are they expected to get a full bond refund?

Would you have them as a tenant again?

2: Get landlord insurance which provides cover for loss of rent and intentional damage to the property.

3: Always run checks. As one rental property expert has said: "If you think you are a good judge of character, stay out of this business."

4:Inspect property regularly, inside and out.

5: Be aware of tenancy law.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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