A stoush between a tenant and landlord over more than $10,000 in unpaid rent and allegations of anti-social behaviour and harassment at a rental property on one of Auckland's most prestigious streets has ended up in court.
The property sits on Paritai Drive in Orakei - one of the most exclusive streets in the city and home to a host of high-profile and high-wealth people.
Owned by Margaret Alison Boyce, the 1930s-built character home is worth $3 million and boasts four bedrooms, a covered terrace and views of the harbour and city.
"This great property has 3 generous double bedrooms and a converted attic fourth bedroom or office with its own sea view," the listing in October read.
"Enjoy produce from your own well established garden with multiple fruit trees and raised beds to grow your herbs."
In October last year Boyce rented the property to Diana Diaz for $750 per week.
The property listing stated that the rental term was six months initially - but with the possibility of an extension.
Boyce agreed to let Diaz stay in the house when the six-month period ended in April.
But after that, the relationship between the women soured.
At some point Diaz stopped paying rent and Boyce took action in the Tenancy Tribunal.
A decision on the matter was released this week.
"The landlord applied for termination of the tenancy due to rent arrears, alleged
anti-social behaviour and refund of the bond," tenancy adjudicator John Hogan said.
"On her application the landlord alluded to certain anti-social behaviour, property
damage, police attendance at the property and complaints from neighbours.
"The tenant applied for compensation due to a failure to maintain and alleged
harassment, breach of privacy and defamation."
Diaz denied claims by Boyce about activity and behaviour at the property.
Both women provided extensive documentation to the tribunal to support their claims.
But the tribunal found regardless of the accusations between them - Boyce was entitled to terminate the tenancy immediately because of the non-payment of rent.
At the tribunal hearing Diaz said there were "numerous repair [and] property maintenance issues".
She said drainage pipes blocked, there were faulty door handles, water seepage on the roof and around windows, disintegrating joinery, slippery paving a faulty dishwasher, a toilet that would not flush, rusted hot plates on the stove, dysfunctional light fittings, a problematic fuse board, leaking spouting and issues with water pressure, bathroom tiles and a shower curtain.
She sought $3750 in compensation from Boyce as a result.
The tribunal heard from Boyce who was "surprised" about the claims and responded to each of the issues stating that some had been attended to or that she had not been informed of others.
Further, she said it had been difficult to get access to the house.
Hogan said the difficulty for Boyce was even if she proposed to eventually demolish the house, she was still obliged to provide and maintain the house in "a reasonable state of repair".
That meant "normal investment in maintenance items" and the tribunal said "even large issues still need to be invested in if the property is rented".
"It may be that had this tenancy been continuing, I would have ordered work
orders and or a professional report on the state of the property,'" Hogan said.
"There is no point now in making such orders, but on balance noting that the
weekly rent is $750 per week, I will accept that to a large extent the tenant is
likely to have identified many issues needing attention and the above
compensation order is made."
Diaz further claimed Boyce had breached her privacy and defamed her by speaking to other residents.
But Hogan found Boyce had communicated "respectfully" with her tenant.
"Indeed both parties did, for a large period of the tenancy and that the relationship only seems to have deteriorated after rent was not paid and Ms Boyce received serious complaints from neighbours about problems occurring at the property," he said.
"That left Ms Boyce no alternative but to inquire and attempt to deal with those
Hogan said he would not address those issues further as it was clear to him it was a matter of Boyce "attempting to manage what was reported to her as happening at the property".
"She of course was obliged to do that," he said.
"Further I do not find there was harassment."
The tribunal had no jurisdiction to address defamation allegations.
Hogan ordered Diaz to pay Boyce $10,170.58 but after he took off the compensation for damage and the bond she paid to move into the property - $3000 - she only has to pay the balance of $4,170.58.
Hogan said the money was to be paid "immediately".
He ordered the Bond Centre to refund the $3000 Diaz paid to Boyce immediately
All other claims were dismissed.