An Auckland man found himself the subject of a building-wide manhunt after he parked in a space reserved for the chairperson of the apartment complex.
However, the Tenancy Tribunal ruled he was not liable to foot the bill - it was Bayleys, the man's landlord.
An investigation commenced after Timothy Pratt parked a rental vehicle in a space reserved for the body corporate chairperson at 152 Quay Street in downtown Auckland in September last year.
A body corporate is made up of a collective of unit owners, within a unit title development.
Pratt and his wife lived in the apartment complex for 12 months between 2016 and 2017.
Following Pratt's mishap the chairperson asked for an email penned by the building manager to be sent to owners and residents of the building.
The email asked whoever had parked in the space to confess, but after a few days there was no answer.
Then the stakes were raised and the chairperson called in a security company to check through hours of camera footage.
After the investigation was completed and Pratt was identified, his fob card was deactivated, which meant Pratt's daughter had been locked out of the building on one occasion, the Tribunal decision said.
The cost of the investigation was $798.10.
The bill included $230 for a callout, $488.75 for five hours of security company time looking through footage, $51.75 for a vehicle charge, $11.50 for central parking and $16.10 for a USB device.
The body corporate invoiced the investigation costs to Bayleys.
"The body corporate's concern to account for all fob accesses and a potential breach of security by an unidentified user was the result of management failure by the body corporate and building manager, not Mr Pratt's wrong parking," the decision states.
"The vehicle should have been towed and the landlord and body corporate should not have locked his daughter out of the building by deactivating the fob."
Bayleys, the landlord, took Pratt to the Tenancy Tribunal in an attempt to recover the costs but a decision issued on April 9 said he did not have to pay for the investigation.
The tribunal said the usual follow up for a car parked in the wrong space would be to tow it at a low cost and ruled the tenant could not possibly have known that parking in the wrong space would result in an "in-depth" investigation.
"The Tribunal therefore found that the loss claimed was not a foreseeable
consequence of Mr Pratt's wrong parking and therefore could not be recovered from the tenants."
Bayleys has been approached for comment.