An Auckland property owner has been seemingly caught red-handed conducting an open home viewing just two days into the nationwide lockdown.

But the homeowner says the visitors were just friends coming to see his sick wife - a visit he acknowledges shouldn't have happened during lockdown.

A resident on Blockhouse Bay Rd, Avondale, filmed and then confronted his neighbour showing a man and woman through a property yesterday.

Screenshot of the video footage - which the Herald has seen - of the alleged open home in Auckland's Avondale during the Covid-19 lockout on March 27. Photo / Supplied
Screenshot of the video footage - which the Herald has seen - of the alleged open home in Auckland's Avondale during the Covid-19 lockout on March 27. Photo / Supplied

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The property was up a driveway off which a man in his 70s reportedly owns five of the six homes.

The owner of the sole other property off the driveway saw the alleged open home yesterday afternoon and confronted the group of three.

"Who are you people? We're under quarantine for four weeks. Are you showing these people through your home?" the neighbour asks while recording on his phone.

The owner's neighbour, who wished not to be named, told the Herald the encounter was upsetting and aggravating.

"The property is vacant and today he's been renovating it. He's been beavering away for months. Doing it up and painting it and that kind of stuff," he said.

"He's selling the property privately. He sold my house to me privately - he used to own it.

"And today I was on the phone with someone and I was looking outside and I was like 'oh that's weird, [he] is having a laugh and being very jovial with these people in the backyard and showing them around and I thought this looks like an open home.

"So I walked down the driveway and when they walked out I was like 'hey, what are you guys doing? What's going on here?' At that point he said 'it's none of your business'.


But the property owner told the Herald his neighbour had the wrong end of the stick - the couple were family friends who were visiting his wife, who has dementia. While visiting, he also showed them around the neighbouring vacant house, which he was doing up for resale.

"The visit shouldn't have happened - we shouldn't have done it," he acknowledged. "They came in for a few minutes then we realised it wasn't right and they left."

But he said it was none of his neighbour's business.

The neighbour said the property owner met his questions with "hostility".

"He told me that he was going to call the cops. So insanely bizarre that he's conducting this open home," the neighbour said.

"I didn't want to get within a few metres of them. So I stayed up near my property. I've been very diligent about keeping within the parameters of what you can do. I don't even want to go to the supermarket."

The resident said he was quite emotional following the exchange, which was particularly brought on by his own concern for his business in the Covid-19 economic fallout.

The neighbour said after the police were called, the man and woman who were allegedly being shown through the open home sped away in their car.

"They sped up the driveway, beeping their horn while they were speeding. I had to jump out of the way so I wasn't hit," the neighbour said.

Police said they spoke to people at the property about the alert level 4 restrictions.

They advised people who suspect others of flouting the isolation restrictions to email

They also reminded people to leave 111 free for emergencies where there is immediate concerns for someone's safety or wellbeing.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush joins Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking to discuss police clamping down on people flouting coronavirus lockdown rules. Audio / Newstalk ZB

The Avondale neighbour who confronted the open home owner is unclear if anything will be done - but he hopes something is.

"He should be named and shamed."

On March 25, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) told the profession that real estate is not considered an essential service and that open homes/private viewings cannot take place in person.

It said open homes could take place via online virtual tours or video conferencing software, where people do not have to leave their homes and no in-person contact occurs. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website