A once-homeless woman who was given a place to rent but was too afraid to raise concerns over the house - for fear of being evicted - will be paid more than $3000 compensation.

The woman and her five children were said to be homeless for about a year when the owner of GDSS Property Ltd, Angela Payne, offered her a property in Waipukurau, in central Hawke's Bay, to rent.

In documents released by the Tenancy Tribunal, it notes that although the condition of the property was run-down, the mother accepted.

"[The mother] had readily and gratefully accepted Ms Payne's offer as she had been desperate to find stable accommodation for her family."


A bond of $1400 was paid and the rent was set at $350 a week before the family's tenancy started on October 23, 2018.

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Not long after the family moved in, the mother and her children began getting sick.

"The house was in poor condition - particularly externally," documents show.

"[The mother] and her children began to experience health problems."

The family were advised by doctors to seek help from the Hawke's Bay Child Healthy Housing Programme, run by the local district health board.

A social worker associated with that programme raised concerns about the family's living conditions to the mother and encouraged her client to raise these with her landlord.

The mother also reported that she had been told by people in the community: "As soon as you start asking [Payne] for stuff and costing her time and money, she will find a way to evict you."


The mother told the Tribunal she did not want her children to become homeless again in a town that already had limited accommodation and housing options.

"[The mother was worried that if she raised issues about the need for repairs, her tenancy would be ended," the decision reads.

"She therefore deferred doing anything about her concerns for some time."

House in a 'very, very poor' state

There were myriad issues with the house - an old 1900s villa-style building that had been turned into two flats at one point, but modified again to allow for the family to have access to the whole house.

A commissioned report carried out by an independent building company showed the house was in a "very, very poor state".

Among the problems identified were the lack of guttering and down-pipes around the house - therefore allowing water to move to the underside of it - the lack of baseboards, rotten weatherboards "pretty much all around the exterior" and glass missing from the dining room window.


Windows that opened but did not stay open were a danger to young children, the report said, no smoke detectors were fitted and there was no ventilation in one bathroom.

"The second bathroom shower did not have a connected waste pipe and the shower linings were coming away from the wall - allowing water to get into the walls."

Ultimately, the Tribunal found that GDSS Properties Ltd had breached its responsibilities as a landlord and it was ordered to fix the issues identified and pay just over $3200 compensation to its tenant.