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Kāinga Ora tenant's lease terminated while behind bars for threatening neighbour

Author
Hazel Osborne,
Publish Date
Sun, 1 Oct 2023, 1:45pm
Kāinga Ora. Photo / RNZ
Kāinga Ora. Photo / RNZ

Kāinga Ora tenant's lease terminated while behind bars for threatening neighbour

Author
Hazel Osborne,
Publish Date
Sun, 1 Oct 2023, 1:45pm

A man in custody for allegedly threatening his neighbour has had his Kāinga Ora tenancy terminated, making it the fifth flat he has been kicked out of in the past five years for “similar behaviour”.

His case was heard in July by the Tenancy Tribunal when the housing provider sought to have the man’s lease brought to an end.

In the recently released decision, adjudicator Kristen Koller said the man, who has name suppression, was remanded into custody in June for threatening his young neighbour.

But this wasn’t the first time police had come to the unit.

According to the decision, police were also called in April when he was yelling obscenities while holding a knife.

Prior to this, Kāinga Ora submitted there had been problems with the tenant in the past, and that it had moved him four times in the past five-and-a-half years for similar behaviour.

Despite the man being behind bars, Koller said sufficient efforts had been made to notify him of the hearing while in prison.

The young neighbour’s mother provided a statement to police, which was used as evidence during the hearing, describing the threat made by the man as one “to kill her son”.

Koller found it was “most likely” there was a threat to assault the neighbour, and terminated the tenancy.

Nick Maling, Kāinga Ora national services general manager, said the vast majority of its customers are good tenants. Photo / Kāinga Ora

Nick Maling, Kāinga Ora national services general manager, said the vast majority of its customers are good tenants. Photo / Kāinga Ora

The man was one of seven individuals who have had their tenancy terminated under section 55 of the Residential Tenancies Act, “termination for anti-social behaviour”, since Kāinga Ora introduced its new policies in February last year.

Kāinga Ora general manager of national services Nick Maling told NZME it wants all “customers” to feel safe in their homes and communities.

“And we do everything we can as landlords to help achieve this,” he said.

“We don’t expect anyone to put up with awful situations and we use the range of tools available to us as a landlord, under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), to address these situations when they arise.”

Maling explained that “eviction” and “tenancy termination” were different.

“Eviction only happens if a person refuses to leave the property after a tenancy has ended,” he said.

“This has happened four times since February 2022, and in three of these situations the people evicted were illegally squatting in Kāinga Ora homes.”

In most cases, Kāinga Ora prefers to address problems without resorting to eviction, he said.

Over the past 12 months, 210 households have been relocated by agreement for disruptive behaviour without having to use the RTA.

Maling said in situations where the tenancy is ended, they do “typically offer the customer an alternative Kāinga Ora home”.

“In most cases, customers take moving to a new home in a new community as an opportunity to make a fresh start.”

But, like any landlord, there are some situations where Kāinga Ora needed to go to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve challenges and formalise outcomes, Maling said.

In limited situations that are “severe, persistent or threatening”, it will end a tenancy and not rehouse the customer.

“This could apply to a range of different situations – from disruptive or threatening behaviour to ongoing non-payment of rent.”

Maling said about 185,000 people live in Kāinga Ora homes around the country, with the vast majority good neighbours and members of their communities.

“We receive complaints about less than 10 per cent of our households – and the majority of the complaints we do receive are for minor things like car noise, frequency of visitors, or lawns not being mowed. When problems arise, we work hard to resolve them.”

Hazel Osborne is an Open Justice reporter for NZME and is based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. She joined the Open Justice team at the beginning of 2022, previously working in Whakatāne as a court and crime reporter in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

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