A caretaker who looked after a bach on a forestry block at Ninety Mile Beach threatened to harm his landlord if he was evicted.
The threat allegedly happened after tenant Peter Kapa was warned about cutting trees down on the block, something he was banned from doing as part of the tenancy agreement.
"(The landlord) submitted that Mr Kapa replied 'if you kick me out I will smash your f****** head in,'" a Tenancy Tribunal recently head.
Kapa moved into the bach on the 243ha forestry block with his partner in 2006 to help the landlords following a series of break-ins and thefts. The tenancy was based on a agreement the couple would not be paid wages and could live in there for free.
The case has now ended up in the Tribunal after the relationship fell apart and the owners - Northern 90-Mile Beach Development Limited - wanted the tenancy terminated.
The tribunal heard part of the agreement included certain restrictions, including no outside fires, candles or drugs.
By 2010 Kapa's partner had moved out of the Far North bach and one of the landlords met with him to discuss a range of issues - including trees being cut down, damage to the property and fires being lit outside.
In 2017 things deteriorated and the landlords have tried to remove him from the property by several means since then, including being given four weeks' notice and a trespass notice.
The Tribunal found there were multiple breaches of the tenancy agreement including:
- Cutting down numerous trees without consent
- Lighting fires
- Damaging trees and other property due to carelessly using a weed eater
- Damaging fences
"Some of these breaches are remediable, and some are not. It is arguable that a
breach such as lighting exterior fires (which is not a remediable breach) is serious
enough that it would be inequitable to refuse a request to terminate the tenancy
on that basis," said the tribunal in its decision.
However it was a threat to harm one of the landlord's directors, Barry Kernot, that caused the tribunal to end the tenancy.
"He noticed a recently felled tree at the property and he reminded Mr Kapa that he was not permitted to cut down trees, and that his tenancy (and contract for caretaker services) would be terminated if he persisted."
Kernot told the tribunal Kapa replied with the threat to smash his head in if he was evicted - something he spoke to the police about but didn't lay a formal complaint.
"My finding is that Mr Kernot's oral evidence, supported by the 17 October 2017
letter, is sufficient to establish that Mr Kapa threatened to seriously assault Mr
Kernot on 13 October 2017.:
"The tenancy is therefore terminated."