A last minute payment of more than $300,000 has prevented a controversial block of flats on Ranolf St from going under the hammer.

The High Court had ordered the group of 12 flats at 90 to 92 Ranolf St be sold to recoup debts incurred by the property's owners - a trust run by Rotoura-based landlords the Bhana family.

The three blocks of four two-bedroom flats near the corner of Malfroy Rd had an auction date of November 9.

However, the auction was cancelled, with the courts advising the Rotorua Daily Post it was at the request of one of the creditors.


A previous High Court ruling said Ranolf Company Limited was a trustee of Ranolf Trust between 2004 and 2015. This meant the trust was responsible for the debts incurred.

The trustees of Ranolf Trust are Ashok Dennis Bhana and Jasu Mati Bhana. Stephen Bhana was added as a trustee in 2016.

The High Court ruled the trust must pay Ranolf Company Limited's debts totalling $287,948.91 - which included liquidators' costs of nearly $160,000 and four creditors totalling just over $128,200.

The High Court ruled if the debts were not paid within 30 days of its ruling in June, the flats would be sold.

The owners appealed the decision, the appeal wasn't allowed because it was out of time, but the owners disputed that, which meant it had to go to a hearing.

The Sheriff of the High Court at Rotorua, which is the enforcement arm for civil disputes, then ordered the sale of the property and the auction date of November 9 was set.

A High Court ruling, which has just been released online, shows the debts were paid by Ranolf Trust just six days before the auction. The total amount paid was $308,404, which included interest, costs and disembursements relating to the sale of the property.

The units had been deemed "dangerous and insanitary" by Rotorua Lakes Council, with building notices posted on the windows of each flat.

Despite the notices, there are still people living in the flats.

The flats have been the centre of controversy in the past year with tenants taking the landlord to the Tenancy Tribunal as a result of the conditions. Tenants have also taken their distress about the conditions at the flat to the Rotorua Daily Post and TVNZ's Seven Sharp programme.

When the flats were advertised for sale, the advertisement said they were overdue for refurbishment. However, it said they were in high demand in their day because they were just one block from the central city. It said there was potential for payoff if a new owner rented some while fixing others.

Council building services manager Darrell Holder confirmed to the Rotorua Daily Post the flats were still owned by the Ranolf Trust.

Holder said the council had been working with members of the trust for "some time and will continue to do so".

"We want to help the owners develop units that are safe and habitable homes, and that meet building compliance standards."