A heavily pregnant woman has won compensation after her landlord booted her out of her home because he didn't want to be woken by a crying baby.
Jelena Pavic was 33 weeks pregnant when she was asked to leave her rental home at short notice by landlord Christopher Norton Bradfield.
The Tenancy Tribunal ordered Bradfield to pay $2500 to Pavic for unfairly discriminating on the basis of pregnancy - as part of a total compensation payout of $6061.43.
The full payout also included refunded rent and bond payments after Bradfield increased Pavic's rent with one day's notice, failed to lodge a bond and issued an unlawful termination notice.
However, Bradfield has appealed the tribunal ruling with a hearing set for July 31.
He told the Herald he disputed many of the Tenancy Tribunal's findings.
Bradfield earlier sent the termination notice to Pavic in January after she had been living in the property in Browns Bay in Auckland's North Shore with her husband Milos for about 18 months.
But while Bradfield was required by law to give the couple 90 days' notice to vacate, he instead gave them only 30 days, Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator John Hogan ruled.
In his termination notice, Bradfield said the apartment was not "designed" for three people.
"Furthermore, as you are aware our bedroom is right next to your lounge, and that we do not see our way fit to maybe have interrupted sleep due to the new baby," he wrote.
In addition to being discriminatory, Pavic told the Tenancy Tribunal the stress of Bradfield's short notice put her into a "desperate and hopeless situation".
"Instead of planning my delivery and organising things ready for the baby, I had to run around, view more than 15 properties and after six applications, we had to accept the first and only one that was successful, and it is with the fixed term of four months"
Pavic then wrote to Bradfield to say she had found a new apartment but would need to move out within four days to accept it so she could be ready to give birth within four weeks.
But Bradfield objected, claiming the couple needed to give him three weeks' notice to vacate and asked them to pay the remaining weeks' rent.
Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator John Hogan ruled that Bradfield's invalid termination notice had caused Pavic "undue stress and inconvenience".
He cited a report by Pavic's doctor, who said she had developed an acute onset of anxiety, sleeplessness, fear of homelessness and a fear of how the drama may impact her baby.
Bradfield's discrimination breached the Human Rights Act and was intentional and not in the public interest, Hogan said.
"In making the award, I have reduced it to some extent, in recognition of Mr Bradfield's honesty in declaring his reason for terminating the tenancy, and because at the hearing, he apologised."
But Bradfield told the Herald he originally advertised his apartment on Trade Me as being for two people.
He said he accepted Pavic, her husband and their first child as tenants because they were new to the country.
But once he found out the apartment would have four people living in it with the arrival of a new baby, he thought it was too many for the property.
"When the baby comes there is no bath – there is only a shower (in the apartment)," he said.
Bradfield accepted he didn't give the couple 90 days' notice, but said he gave them 45 days' notice and not 30 days and so wasn't intending to leave them in the lurch or "boot" them out.
"Our relationship with Milos and Jelena was 100 per cent – there was no issues with us," he said.
"If they had come to me and said listen, 'I can't find a property do you mind if we stay another couple of weeks or so until we find a suitable property', that would have been 100 per cent."
"I wouldn't have had any issues."
Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator Hogan also found Bradfield had, earlier in the Pavics' tenancy, given them one day's notice before raising their rent by $30 a week.
Landlords are required by law to give at least 60 days' notice before raising the rent.
"The required notice was not given by the landlord and fell an extraordinary 59 days short," Hogan wrote.
But Bradfield said the $30 increase was to cover rising electricity bills and was willingly agreed to by the Pavics two months earlier in a talk he had with them.
The payment was aimed at covering their increased use of the washing machine and other facilities, he said.