Landlord evicting tenants who spoke out about 'swamp house'

by RNZ / 12 September, 2018

The tenants of an Auckland 'swamp house', which the Housing Minister labelled "third world", are being evicted after forcing their landlord to fix their home's issues.

After seeing the property on Checkpoint, Auckland Council deemed it insanitary and therefore unliveable on 31 August, meaning the landlord, Aven Raj, had 10 days to resolve the property's issues or face a $200,000 fine and an extra $20,000 every day the issues continued.

Those included uncompliant stormwater pipes, poor drainage, and mould. 

Two business days later, on 4 September, the tenants were issued with a 90 day eviction notice. They weren't given a reason for the eviction.

The Residential Tenancies Act stipulates that a landlord cannot issue a retaliatory eviction notice. 

Read more: Auckland family pays $520 a week for 'third world swamp house'

Underneath Dawn Robbie's Auckland 'swamp house'. Photo: RNZ/ Nick Monro

Underneath Dawn Robbie's Auckland 'swamp house'. Photo: RNZ/ Nick Monro

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Mr Raj's property manager, Pam Rose from Noble Realty Ltd, did not respond to requests for comment.

Dawn Robbie lives at the Papakura home with her partner, Cameron, and her two daughters, a 3-year-old and 10-month-old. They pay $520 a week in rent.

The drainage issues at the home formed an ankle-deep swamp underneath the house, which caused dampness and mould inside, and rendered the yard an unusable swamp.

Mr Raj has fixed most of the issues at the home and today Auckland Council lifted the insanitary notice.

Ms Robbie said there were still several things to be fixed inside, including mould.

Tenancy Services, a branch of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, is looking to prosecute Mr Raj on behalf of Dawn and her family.
 

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

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