Tenants living in a mice-infested West Auckland hovel where rodent droppings let off a bad smell every time the oven was turned on have won a $4000 payout.
Tenants Hamish Fowler and Curtis Messina took photos to their Tenancy Tribunal hearing showing "considerable mice excrement" littering the Coatesville rental's kitchen cupboard.
The mice ate food in the pantry before urinating and pooing under the oven, causing an "offensive smell" every time it was used, tribunal adjudicator Belinda Harvey said.
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The tenants also produced evidence of holes in the rental's walls, a bent structural beam, deck without railing and broken glass ranch slider, Harvey said.
Other problems included a broken gas heater, garage that didn't lock, a burnt out and potentially dangerous light switch and structural cracks in the walls and ceilings.
Adjudicator Harvey subsequently hit owner Wendy Huang with $3000 in exemplary damages for not repairing the rental, a $1000 compensation fine for the tenant's loss of amenity and $850 exemplary damages for failing to insulate part of the home.
"The landlord has owned this property for many years and was aware of the serious breaches of the building code in respect of the absence of deck railing and the upstairs ranch slider," Harvey said.
"The ranch slider was never bolted and remained dangerous for the entire
"I find that the landlord's refusal to comply with the law was intentional."
The tenants in turn had to pay about $500 to Huang for rubbish removal and lock and key replacement.
Harcourts Cooper & Co acted as property manager for the start of the tenancy and refused to get a pest controller in for the mice on the basis the rental was an old rural property, Harvey said.
But in June 2019 after six months of the tenancy, the property manger served notice on Huang terminating their agreement.
"Current New Zealand legislation together with our high standard of duty and responsibility both dictate that a property must be kept in a good condition and reasonably maintained," Harcourts' letter stated.
"Despite reporting numerous maintenance issues with your properties, this work has still not been completed and as such we will no longer be continuing management, effective with one months' notice as of today's date."