A tenant who was told by a bailiff she was about to be evicted barricaded herself in the flat before leaning over her balcony and cutting the abseiling ropes of window cleaners who were up 13 storeys high.
Police arrived but had to smash in the door before they could arrest her.
Now the central Auckland woman has been ordered to pay over $8500 by the Tenancy Tribunal for weeks of outstanding rent as well as damages for the kicked-in door and cut ropes.
The woman, who lived with her son, moved into the Harbour Royal Apartments in Anzac Ave at the beginning of 2015 and had been there for about six years when she faced eviction. By late 2020 her rent payments were sporadic.
Tribunal adjudicator Jenny Smith said she was advised the woman was "likely quite unwell at the time" - to the point she ended up in hospital.
By the middle of last year she was taken to mediation twice for missing payments. Both sessions were unsuccessful and the landlord took his case for eviction successfully to the tenancy tribunal in July, sliding a copy of the decision under the woman’s door that same day.
Two weeks later a bailiff served an eviction notice and on August 13, the day after, the woman was arrested after allegedly endangering the lives of the window washers by cutting their “basket lines”.
“This must have been incredibly frightening for the workers who, I am told, were 13 storeys high at the time,” Smith said in the decision.
The building managers also issued the woman with a trespass notice to prevent her from returning to the building.
She applied to stop the eviction the day the country moved into alert level 4 Covid-19 lockdown in August last year. Her son, who was still in the apartment at the time, was allowed to remain there until Auckland moved to level 2.
In late August 2021 the application for a rehearing was set down and a stay granted on the condition she keep paying rent - but she didn’t, so the stay was lifted.
A rehearing was set down and in September was dismissed, and the tenancy ended that day.
Her son, who was "graciously allowed" to live in the flat until January this year, was still living there while his mother had been evicted.
Because of the landlord's agreement with the woman's son, she was only found liable to pay for rent arrears between the first tribunal decision and the final rehearing dismissal.
She was ordered to pay rent arrears between July 28 and September 21, 2021, to the tune of $2925. She was also ordered to pay $1726 for the damage caused to the abseiling ropes and nearly $4000 for the cost of a new fire door.