Suzanne Bailey thought she'd end up retiring in the house she bought in Kawerau.

It wasn't anything flash but it was an investment she'd paid off and was busily working to save enough money to live comfortably in her older years.

However, being 67 years old she'd struggled to find work and couldn't afford to buy in Whangārei, where she's been living for the past five years.

Kawerau proved cheaper and boasted an economy slowly booming due to its bustling Bay of Plenty town neighbour, Tauranga.


When she bought the house she decided to keep the same tenants, thinking it would be an easier option.

However, 18 months on the rent payments suddenly stopped.

She called friends who still lived in the town to check on it and discovered not only had they moved out but others had moved in.

Bailey said she immediately drove down to see what was going on.

"These people trashed my home, were doing drugs and not paying any rent."

Bailey has spoken out after reading the story of Auckland woman Nina Zhao, whose family remain stuck with "tenants from hell" who moved into their home illegally.

Despite legal action ruling in her family's favour, it appears the Zhaos still have little power with which to boot out the remaining "sub tenants", who refuse to move out of the $2million St Heliers house.

Police wouldn't get involved, instead ruling it a civil matter, while Andrew King of the New Zealand Property Investors Federation said it showed how dysfunctional the Tenancy Tribunal system was.


Bailey said she also won legal action but the Tenancy Tribunal could only prosecute the tenants who had the property in their name - not those who were currently "squatting" in her home.

They eventually moved out but then she was told gang members had frequented the property and was too scared to move in.

She sold the property and had since bought a property in Invercargill - the only area where she could afford to buy without too much of a mortgage.

But now her nightmare continued with the Inland Revenue Department, who were chasing her for capital gains tax after she sold her house within two years of buying it.

She said the system did nothing to protect landlords and it seemed the tenants were getting away with more.

"I found out I had no rights with these people. I went to the police, they couldn't do anything because I didn't have a court order.

"I wanted to retire there because I had friends there I'd known for 30 years and I couldn't afford to buy in Whangārei."

She was left gobsmacked by the experience.

"It was a real eye opener. It just makes me mad that the Government raves on about the tenants and now it's so crazy the landlords have no rights whatsoever.

"If the Government keeps going in this vein all they're going to do is drive rental prices up and up and up because there'll be less rental properties available, people will probably rather invest in the stock market."