A tenant in rural Auckland has won a payout after her landlord used his key to enter her rental while she was asleep.
Christine Thompson told a recent Tenancy Tribunal as a woman living alone at the Dairy Flat rental it was frightening to wake to hear someone entering the house.
Landlord Don Webb accepted that he tried his key and opened the door to the rental, which was on the neighbouring property to where he lived.
He told tribunal adjudicator L Wright he wanted to check if his key was working.
He also accepted he had opened the door to the rental on another occasion to deliver a rent increase notice.
But adjudicator Wright said Thompson had reason to be concerned.
"I accept that this would have been frightening for the tenant to be woken this way," Wright said.
Tenant Thompson also raised a series of other allegations at landlord Webb.
She claimed she didn't feel safe at the rental and that Webb harassed her and shouted at her like she was "a dog" when she tried to stop a cow from eating her plants and when she gave notice to terminate the tenancy.
Webb denied the allegations.
Thompson also said Webb unnecessarily came onto the property to make repairs, that his dogs strayed onto the property regularly and that he wrongly accused her of burning rubbish and lighting a fire - an accusation he later took back.
However, Webb said he only ever went onto the property to make essential repairs and denied any wrongdoing.
Adjudicator Wright said that when tenants and landlords give accounts that are "essentially the opposite of each other" it can be difficult to determine what happened.
"The tribunal must try to decide what is more likely than not to be the actual case from the evidence and an assessment of the credibility of each party," Wright said.
"It is more likely than not that the conduct of the landlord presented as a pattern of behaviour that worried and distressed the tenant. I find that the landlord has committed an unlawful act intentionally."
Wright subsequently awarded Thompson $500 for breach of quiet enjoyment and unlawful entry.
Thompson and Webb also squabbled over who was liable to pay for other repairs made to the property with Wright ultimately decided that Webb should pay for these.
As Thompson had originally paid for those repairs, Webb was ordered to compensate her for them.