Owner of Auckland 'slum' may be prosecuted

Author
Christina Campbell, Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Mar 2017, 1:38PM
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Owner of Auckland 'slum' may be prosecuted

Author
Christina Campbell, Newstalk ZB Staff,
Publish Date
Sat, 11 Mar 2017, 1:38PM

UPDATED 6.18PM Auckland Council is being commended for cracking down on a rat-infested, rotting boarding house.

The owner of the Grey Lynn property, which is now used as a boarding house for about 20 people, has been given a month to fumigate the building, and arrange for cleaning and repairs.

Failure to comply could lead to prosecution, and a maximum penalty of $200,000.

Those living at the house pay between $200 and $240 a week in rent. The building is currently on the market, and has attracted offers of over $5 million.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said he has now asked a new tenancy law compliance unit, set up last July in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), to consider prosecuting the owner of the boarding house.

He said councils are responsible for enforcing the Building Act, but the MBIE unit is able to prosecute for breaches of housing regulations under tenancy law.

Councillor Mike Lee said the boarding house is effectively a slum.

"The council did a great job going in there and carrying out the inspection and giving those orders to the owner, but our task is not over."

Lee said it's a sad commentary on the state of the city.

"This is one of the more desirable parts of Auckland, and we have this building which has now turned into a slum right next to a school."

Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly said no one should be living in the boarding house.

"It's unsafe, it's filthy, it's lacking security, and it's really an inappropriate place for people to live."

Labour housing spokesman Phil Twyford told the NZ Herald many other substandard boarding houses were still open.

"There are dozens of boarding houses in Auckland and many of them are substandard. Most people would be shocked by the conditions that people are living in," he said.

A parliamentary inquiry into boarding houses in 2014 urged the Government to update regulations under four housing-related laws to be "more reflective of modern standards".