A notorious Dunedin landlord whose company has featured in more than 20 Tenancy Tribunal cases has been taken to task again over tenancy issues and abusive emails.

The tribunal found landlord Karen Brown, of Man-Oock Holdings Limited, harassed tenant Ruiqi Wu through email, and that the tone of the emails and language used "points to a pattern of behaviour designed to intimidate the tenant, on numerous issues".

Wu applied to the tribunal to end her fixed-term tenancy at 49 Heriot Row early, and for exemplary damages for breach of her quiet enjoyment, reports Otago Daily Times.

The tribunal also found Brown tried to increase Wu's rent by $162 per week when Wu tried to assign the remainder of her tenancy, which was "unreasonable".


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"As the tenant had arranged a trip to China for family reasons based on her belief her tenancy could be assigned, resulting in an inability to pay rent, I consider the tenant would suffer severe hardship if the term of the tenancy were not reduced," the tribunal found.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, a landlord must not interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of the tenant in their use of the premises.

A breach can result in damages of up to $2000.

The tribunal found Brown did commit an unlawful act by harassing Wu, but decided not to award damages.

The email from Karen Brown that was featured on the front page of the Critic. Image / critic.co.nz
The email from Karen Brown that was featured on the front page of the Critic. Image / critic.co.nz

"This is to ensure a fair and expeditious resolution of the dispute between the parties by not awarding compensation to the landlord for loss of rent and not awarding exemplary damages."

It was the 21st tribunal ruling involving Man-Oock Holdings Limited since 2017, and the fifth this year.

Brown was featured in a Critic Te Arohi investigation earlier this year about landlords requiring tenants to pay rent as if they were on a fixed-term lease, even though they were living in a boarding house.


Abusive emails she sent the reporter featured on the student magazine's front cover, gaining national attention.

Brown could not be reached for comment by deadline.