State house tenant demands $50k for building garage, planting fruit trees

Author
Dubby Henry, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Jul 2019, 4:07PM
The case was dismissed by the Tenancy Tribunal. (Photo / Getty)
The case was dismissed by the Tenancy Tribunal. (Photo / Getty)

State house tenant demands $50k for building garage, planting fruit trees

Author
Dubby Henry, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tue, 16 Jul 2019, 4:07PM

A tenant who demanded $49,999 from Housing NZ for concreting, building a garage and planting fruit trees at her Auckland state house has had her case dismissed by the Tenancy Tribunal.

Diane Tsirakoff's father lived in the rental on Miller St in Pt Chevalier since at least the 1990s; she moved in with him in 1997 and took over the tenancy when he died in 2003.

Over the decades the pair made substantial changes to the property, including laying 34m2 of concrete, building a carport and shed and planting fruit trees and other greenery.

A tenant whose father added a carport, shed and concrete to their state house in Pt Chev has had her request for compensation dismissed in the Tenancy Tribunal. Photo / Google

A tenant whose father added a carport, shed and concrete to their state house in Pt Chev has had her request for compensation dismissed in the Tenancy Tribunal. Photo / Google

For their labours Tsirakoff asked for $49,999 - one dollar less than the maximum amount that can be paid under a tribunal order.

Tsirakoff - who no longer lives at the property - told the tribunal Housing NZ had encouraged tenants in the street to improve their gardens.

A Housing NZ staff member had also told her father he would be compensated for concreting work he had done in the late 1990s, she said.

A Housing NZ representative said he understood Tsirakoff's father made the improvements because he intended to buy the house.

But there was no record of a contract agreeing to compensate the tenants for the work they had done - and tribunal adjudicator Mark Benvie found there was no evidence to prove such an agreement had been made.

In his finding on June 30 Benvie said it seemed "highly improbable" that Housing NZ or any reasonable landlord would enter into such an "unlimited" agreement to compensate a tenant for improvements to a property.

"It makes no sense that HNZ would, in effect, indemnify Ms Tsirakoff and her father for any money they spent in the last 30 years," he said.

Benvie dismissed the case.

 

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