A Northland landlord who entered his tenants' house late at night while drunk, and on another occasion brandished an air rifle at them before trying to ram their car has been ordered to pay $18,500 in compensation.
The Tenancy Tribunal found landlord Marcus Zanetich's actions to be "outrageous and unacceptable" when he was living next door to his tenants Rhona and Richard Parangi at Spains Rd in Awanui in 2020.
Zanetich would "come and go" as he liked, making surprise visits to the family up to several times during the day when they first moved in and on a number of times entered their home late at night when he was drunk.
Richard Parangi, in his evidence, said on one particular evening in June last year Zanetich was intoxicated when he visited them just before midnight. He woke up the entire house by being "loud and somewhat belligerent" and then refused to leave.
Parangi said their daughters also caught him looking through their windows and were "frightened" of him.
But the harassment didn't stop once Zanetich terminated their tenancy early and the Parangis ended up leaving up to $20,000 of their belongings, including toys and electronics, behind because he refused to let them back in the house.
The Parangis said they went back to collect the items one day and were told by Zanetich they could not be there. He left but returned not long after brandishing an air rifle, the tribunal was told.
The Parangis claimed he then attempted to ram their vehicle with his. They said they were too scared to return to get their personal belongings so left them there.
But Zanetich disagreed and said they left the property before the end of the notice period abandoning their personal belongings and rubbish.
Tribunal adjudicator Nicholas Blake sided with the couple's version of events saying it would be very unlikely they would invent such a list of sentimental items that they had left behind.
Blake condemned Zanetich's behaviour.
"The tenants were entitled to see out the end of the notice period without interference by Mr Zanetich. His actions radically deprived Mr and Mrs Parangi of their reasonable peace, comfort and privacy. It is appropriate to make an award of exemplary damages for harassment," the order said.
Zanetich was also found in breach of the Tenancy Tribunal Act for not providing a clean home for them to move into, only providing three working lights in the property, failing to provide a correctly installed smoke alarm and overcharging the couple for power.
The $18,520.44 in costs awarded to the couple included $10,000 in compensation for taking their belongings, $2800 for harassment, $2000 for not supplying the correct smoke alarms and $1800 for power reimbursements.