A landlord must pay a tenant nearly $10,000 because of a leaking roof and dampness during five winters, an issue so severe that teenagers were forced to sleep in a lounge.
Vinay Grover's Grovers Investments must pay the tenant whose name is suppressed $9904.54 in compensation for breaching obligations to repair and maintain a property in a reasonable condition. Quiet enjoyment of the tenants' right to the property was also breached and the compensation is awarded for that breach as well.
Some minor repairs had been made, the Tenancy Tribunal said, but the main issue of the roof leaks persisted for years. The tenant was paying $510/week and had lodged a $2020 bond for the place.
Oaks Property Management was also ordered to pay $2000.
The tenant's main concern was the general water ingress and overall dampness creating danger for her and two teenage sons, unable to use their bedrooms and forced to sleep in the living room, the tribunal said.
The rooms, floors and ceilings were damp and there was significant black mould on and under the carpets and underlay because repairs and maintenance had not been properly addressed.
"One of her sons had attended the hearing as a witness and gave direct evidence concurring with the tenant's description of the sub-standard state of the premises and the leaks. He also confirmed that he was unable to use the bedroom because of the leaks and had to move into the lounge with his brother," the tribunal said.
Companies Office records show Grovers Investments' sole director is Vinay Satya Pal Grover of Ranui. The company is owned by Vardaan whose directors are Bindu Vinay Grover and Vinay Satya Pal Grover.
The tenant had pleaded for the place to be fixed.
"My son is now moving into the lounge until this gets fixed. I think I've been really patient, I'm not a builder so I can only guess and pray that the next person that comes to fix it will actually fix the problem.
"Five winters we have had a leak in here, ever since we moved in, in 2015. This is urgent now. I think I am in a position where I can get someone to come and fix it and invoice the landlord? I'm not sure, but the damage to the house now may be more extensive than if it was fixed properly years ago. The carpet is wet and doesn't smell nice," the tenant wrote.
The landlord disputed the tenant's claims.
"The landlord said the property was in keeping with the age and character of the premises and the rent level for the property," the tribunal noted.
The landlord also accepted that there had been problems associated with the property as with most properties. The landlord believed they have been reasonably responsive with addressing any problems when they had arisen.
"The landlord's defence that the premises were only affected by leaks and damp when it was raining is ingenuous in light of the tenant's notified incidences of dampness and mouldy carpet," the tribunal ruled.
It stressed how leaks "should always be given high priority" and said there had been other cases of serious issues with water.
The tenant sought a $49,000 rent rebate but the tribunal said that was not reasonable.
Grover owns The Mortgage Hero mortgage broking business and when the Herald approached him today for comment after the ruling, he blamed the property management business.
"I am a good-hearted God-fearing man," Grover said, telling how he had originally only bought the house for his pastor as a favour.