An Auckland landlord has been slammed by the Tenancy Tribunal for failing to maintain a cold, damp property riddled with leaks causing an "appalling" level of mould.

The tribunal ordered landlord Mohan Kesha pay the two tenants more than $6000 in damages, mostly exemplary given the "public interest in maintaining dry, healthy homes".

"The mould in the daughter's bedroom was extensive, it was clearly visible, and it was at an appalling level," the decision read.

"The landlord took no steps to remedy the damage and denied all knowledge of it."


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The two tenants moved into the Remuera flat on October 1, 2015, and generally had a good relationship with Kesha.

But there were ongoing issues in winter with mould. The tenants described the flat as "cold and damp".

The issues were compounded in late 2017, when the tenants' daughter moved to New Zealand from the Philippines to live with them.

Efforts were made to reduce the damp and mould in the property, but by June 2019 the mould in the daughter's bedroom was so bad she was not able to sleep in there.

On June 5, 2019, a leaking water main was found to be the cause.

The landlord tried to fix it himself, but then allowed the tenant to engage a plumber to repair the leak. The cost was taken out of the rent.

Photos and video provided to the tribunal showed the mould.


"Quite frankly, the level of mould on the carpet is appalling," the tribunal said.

"It is clearly visible, thickly covering a large area of carpet."

The landlord claimed at the hearing the tenant did not tell him about the mould and that he did not inspect the property, which is why he hadn't seen it himself.

Had he been told about the mould, he would have replaced the carpet much earlier, he said.

But the tenants said he was told on multiple occasions, and that he saw it on June 6 when he was at the property to repair the leak.

He was even seen in the video evidence of the mould provided to the tribunal.

"I find that it is inconceivable that the tenant would video the mould damage, but not show it to the landlord," the tribunal said.

The tenants also claimed the landlord did not remove rubbish, replace mouldy carpet, repair the bathroom sink, repair the leaking toilet and properly affix the toilet to the floor, repair the damaged bathroom floor or repair damaged and leaking guttering.

The only work remaining at the time of the hearing was the repair of the bathroom sink and the toilet, both of which still leaked.

However, none of the repairs were done until the application was filed in the Tenancy Tribunal.

The tribunal found the most significant aspect was the loss of the use of the tenants' daughter's bedroom between June 2019 and March 2020 because of the mould, awarding $1500 in compensation.

"It is impossible to resist the conclusion that the breach was intentional.

"The mould in the daughter's bedroom was extensive, it was clearly visible, and it was at an appalling level.

"The landlord took no steps to remedy the damage and denied all knowledge of it."

The tenants' daughter was not able to sleep in her bedroom and the tenants were constantly worried her health was being affected.

"There is a public interest in maintaining dry, healthy homes.

"This has been made clear in legislation and considering the extent of the mould in this case, is a matter of common sense.

"The tribunal simply cannot condone such a blatant disregard for tenants' health."

The tenants also claimed the landlord had failed to lodge their bond.

They showed the tribunal a handwritten receipt, signed by the landlord, for a payment of $1600 - two weeks' rent and two weeks' rent as bond.

However, the landlord claimed this money was rent in advance - a claim thrown out by the tribunal.

"This does not explain the use of the word 'bond' in the receipt.

"Further, to require payment of four weeks rent in advance would be a breach of the Act.

"I consider that the failure to lodge the bond must have been an intentional act."

"Taken at its best, the failure to lodge the bond was an oversight. At its worst, this was an attempt to circumvent the rules preventing a landlord requiring more than two weeks' rent in advance."

The property was also found to have no smoke alarms, for which the landlord was ordered to pay $1500 in exemplary damages.

Despite the property being insulated, the landlord refused to provide the tenants an insulation statement, as required by law.

Kesha said one was never requested, but in a recorded conversation provided to the tribunal a tenant can be heard clearly asking, even begging, for details of the insulation at the property.

"The landlord repeatedly refused to provide it and threatened to give the tenants a 90-day notice to vacate the property," the tribunal said.

"Again, I find that this was an intentional act.

"The effect of this failure was that the tenants were left worrying that they were about to have another winter in an uninsulated house, concerned about their daughter's health."

The tribunal ordered Kesha pay the tenants $6270, including $1500 compensation for the loss of use of the bedroom for nine months, $600 for failing to lodge the bond, $1500 for the lack of smoke alarms, $2250 for failing to maintain the property and $400 for failing to provide an insulation statement.

Kesha was also ordered to repair the leaking bathroom sink and toilet.

He must also lodge the $800 bond within two weeks.