A woman who caused a significant rat infestation after leaving waterlogged bags of muesli around the home she was renting has been ordered to pay her landlord more than $17,000.

Landlord Michael Jenkins says it took him three days to tidy up his Northland rental which had holes in the walls, damage to part of the spa pool and numerous valuable items missing.

In a decision released this month the Tenancy Tribunal ordered Taara Muir, who failed to turn up to the hearing, to pay Jenkins $17,211 for all of the damage, stolen property and outstanding rent.

Muir had been evicted from the property earlier this year following a separate Tribunal hearing.


Once she moved out of the Dargaville home Jenkins found nine holes in the walls and water pipes and switchboard for a spa pool had been smashed.

A $5000 "heat pump" style hot water cylinder that Jenkins had stored on the property had also been pulled apart.

"Mr Jenkins provided a photograph confirming that it was at the property before this tenancy. At the end of the tenancy Mr Jenkins found it in a completely dismantled state. It appears it had been pulled apart in order to remove the copper from inside, although this style of unit has very little copper in it."

Some of the stolen items included a motor used for long-line fishing, an electric fence unit and a customised water heater.

The property was also infested with rats.

"The tenants were involved in a small business whereby they would acquire bulk amounts of muesli from a supplier in Auckland and sell it as stock food.

When Jenkins retook possession of the property there were many tonnes of this product left in bags and boxes inside and outside the shed.

"Many bags were torn and the muesli was strewn everywhere. Much of it was waterlogged. The presence of this food source created a very significant rat problem."


Jenkins told the Tribunal it took three days for a team of his friends and a digger to tidy the property.


• Rent arrears 22 February – 15 March 2019 $1,021.43

• Previous order application 4171931 dated 11/03/2019 $4,112.94

• Electric fence unit stolen $695.00

• Long line motor stolen $512.10

• Rubbish removal $1,200.00

• Water heater for spa pool stolen $1,500.00

• Repairs: Spa pool pump, pipes, and switchboard damaged $1,500.00

• Hot water cylinder damaged $5,000.00

• Repairs: 9 holes in walls $1,650.00

• Filing fee reimbursement $20.44

Total payable by Tenant to Landlord $17,211.91