A woman who lived in part of a showroom selling house tiles in Northland has won $3420 damages in a tenancy dispute with her landlord.

Haruru landlords Neil and Julie Hall were ordered to pay damages to Bianca Lever because they illegally rented out part of the commercial showroom as a residential tenancy.

The Tenancy Tribunal decision also fined the pair for failing to fit smoke alarms and not lodging Lever's bond in time.

Lever's tenancy was in a sectioned-off area with a bedroom and kitchen that was otherwise part of a large shed and tile showroom.


The tribunal found Lever's apartment was not poor or "substandard".

"The photographs show that the interior of the property is modern, tidy and suitable for residential occupancy," the tribunal decision said.

However, the Halls had not gained council consent to rent the space out to a residential tenant.

"The fact that it was rented out without following the proper process of consent and approval is behaviour that ought to be discouraged by an appropriate award of exemplary damages," the tribunal found.

It subsequently ordered them to pay $1000 in exemplary damages to Lever.

The tribunal awarded a further $2000 because the apartment was not fitted with smoke alarms at the start of the tenancy and because the Halls did not make attempts to fit the alarms until "several months into the tenancy".

A further $400 was awarded to Lever because the Halls failed to lodge her bond within 23 days, while another $20 administration fee was also included in the payout.