A Southland renter has been hit with a $23,000 bill after leaving behind 10 cats, 10 allegedly stolen bikes, six couches and five televisions in a rental he vacated.
And that was just the shortlist of allegedly stolen items, a recent Tenancy Tribunal decision stated.
The tenant was also deemed responsible for the 56 holes punched into the Florence St rental's walls in Wyndham, about 25km from Invercargill, as well as its broken windows and smashed external doors.
Heart-broken landlords Desmond Weston and Melba Turner had no insurance for their rental.
"The damage to this property has clearly had a devastating effect on the landlord,
who was clearly distressed at the hearing," the tribunal adjudicator said.
"The tenant did not leave the premises reasonably clean and tidy, and did not
remove all rubbish."
The man was ordered to pay $20,700 for all the "gib work" needed to repair the rental after he left, $960 for rubbish removal and $720 for cleaning among other costs.
"The photo evidence supplied shows how significant the clean-up was," the adjudicator said.
"There was rotting food, ten cats living at the property, 10 bikes, six couches, five TVs, two bookcases and sets of drawers to list only a few of the items."
"All items were in a state of disrepair, and, I am advised, are the product of historical burglaries."
To landlords had to complete multiple trips to the tip, "incurring significant dump fees" to remove the collection of allegedly ill-gotten goods.
The $23,000 bill came on top of an earlier Tenancy Tribunal decision in August ordering the same tenant to pay just under $3000 in rent arrears to the landlord.
He was ordered to vacate the property by August 5.
The decision comes after landlords earlier this week hit back at new tenancy law reforms, saying the latest rules will make it harder to evict anti-social tenants.
Landlords will no longer be able to get rid of tenants without reason, under law changes announced on Sunday by Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi.
They say the law change will make it much harder for landlords to get rid of unsavoury renters, which will also affect neighbours of bad tenants who will have to put up with them for longer.
At present, landlords can give a tenant 90 days' notice without having to provide a reason and 42 days' notice in some circumstances, such as landlords or their family wanting to move in, or if the property has been sold.
The Government plans to remove the right of landlords to end a tenancy under a bill next year to amend the Residential Tenancies Act.
Anti-social behavior and rent arrears will still be cause for eviction notices but the Government is proposing to require the landlord to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal in such cases.
Not only that, but the landlord will be required to produce evidence of having issued three notices of such behavior or arrears having occurred within a 90-day period.
The New Zealand Property Investor Federation said the proposed changes to no-cause terminations would do more than punish landlords.
"They will punish anyone living next to a tenant with anti-social behavior," executive officer Andrew King said at the time.
The federations says it has researched the use of the 90-day notice period. It says that 3 per cent of tenants receive a 90-day notice (without the landlord having to give a reason) and that nearly half of those notices were for anti-social behavior affecting neighbours.
"That is approximately 7000 tenants causing problems for up to 70,000 households."
Additional reporting - Audrey Young