A woman whose landlord photographed her as she slept in her bed says she cried in court when she found out what he had done to her.

Harman Sonia, from Christchurch, said she did not know she had been photographed by landlord Harinder Khinda Khinda until she saw the photograph as part of a Tenancy Tribunal hearing.

She had noticed that her room had been disturbed when she came home from work but thought she might have imagined it.

"I cried in court when I saw the photo," she told the Herald.


"I was always in doubt but it cleared my doubt with that picture - he was coming into my room."

The tribunal heard there had been two occasions when Khinda or his wife turned up at the Greers Rd property to carry out an inspection without previous notice.

On one of those impromptu visits - in August 2018 - a photograph was taken of Sonia without her knowledge.

"It shows the tenant lying in bed in her bedroom apparently unaware that the photograph was being taken," the tribunal order said.

"The photograph must have been taken on August 18, 2018, during the landlord's inspection of the premises.

"The landlord's act of taking a photograph of the tenant in her bed was unacceptable and amounted to a breach of the tenant's quiet enjoyment of the premises.

"The landlord was entitled to carry out inspections, but only after giving the proper notice of them to the tenant."

Sonia said she found out about the photo in September 2019, when Khinda presented it as part of an earlier application against her.

Landlord Harinder Khinda Khinda snapped his tenant as she slept in her bed. Photo / Supplied
Landlord Harinder Khinda Khinda snapped his tenant as she slept in her bed. Photo / Supplied

In that instance, the landlord's application was dismissed and the tenant awarded a payment out of her bond.

In October 2018, Khinda and his wife had moved into the Bishopdale property where Sonia and her brother lived.

The Khindas told them they were in financial trouble, with nowhere else to go, she said.

She would move out the next May, after ongoing issues with the landlord.

"He was always at home in daytime and whenever I left my room, things were always different, like someone was looking for something," she said.

"I was really stressed and lost myself, because I was stressed all the time."


Landlords say Govt plans will make it harder to get rid of bad tenants
Landlord took photo of tenant in bed, ordered to pay her $600
Now and then: Landlord/tenant law overhaul, how 1.5m lives could change
Teen landlord tells how he bought first rental in Whangārei after saving $30k

"It makes me feel so disgusting he's done a lot... every time I think about it, it puts me in a dark place."

Khinda was ordered to pay the Christchurch woman just over $600 for his "cavalier" disregard to her rights.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, a landlord must not enter a premises without either the consent of the tenant or lawful authority, the tribunal noted.

"He needs to learn," Sonia said.

"I don't want someone else to suffer the same as me."


Despite the incident, the adjudicator said he did not find the landlord's conduct amounted to harassment of the tenant and that there was no pattern of behaviour that could amount to harassment.

Khinda will have to pay a total of $620.44, which includes a filing fee reimbursement, to his tenant.

He could not be reached for comment.