A tenant has been made to pay more than $12,000 after illegally renting out an apartment on Airbnb.
The tenant, Sean Robin Kennedy, was found by the Tenancy Tribunal to have rented the apartment in the Metropolis building in central Auckland under the guise of using it for his company's staff and clients.
But he instead rented the apartment and others on Airbnb, Booking.com and other accommodation websites and then sold the leases to a third party.
The tribunal ruling said Kennedy told the landlord he was interested in the apartment for staff who travelled periodically from Asia.
However, the apartment owners, the Ray Miller Trust, were never asked about sub-letting and did not give approval for the premises to be used in this way.
After Kennedy finished the tenancy in April, the landlord had suspicions that the apartment had been sub-let and asked the building manager to contact other apartment owners.
The landlord then spoke to another apartment owner, Brett Gordon, who said in a sworn statement that Kennedy had sold him a business consisting of several apartment leases, including the apartment in the Metropolis building.
After he paid for the leases, Kennedy then withheld the lease, refused to give details for the landlord, and did not fill out the "change of tenant" forms.
"Over the following months, I realised that I had been sold a fraudulent business,
and none of the apartment leases were able to be sublet," Gordon said in his statement.
"The landlords had no idea of what was happening. Mr Kennedy had signed leases in his own name and pretended to be living in these apartments or told landlords his staff were using the apartments."
Gordon said he stopped paying rent to the landlords and handed all of the properties back to Kennedy.
Gordon said Kennedy had sub-let the Metropolis apartment for more than a year. He had advertised it online without an apartment number to avoid paying extra rates to Auckland Council and avoid suspicion from the landlord.
The landlord sought all of the $8360 paid by Gordon to Kennedy for the lease and other costs. The tribunal agreed, and also awarded $800 in exemplary damages because the tenant had committed an unlawful act.
"The landlord told me that this event had shaken their confidence and trust in their tenants, they felt duped," the adjudicator Tony Prowse said.
Kennedy was also ordered to pay $1700 in unpaid rent and $1500 for missing items and property damage.