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Landlord’s heartbreak

Mandy Bedingfield outside her rural Carterton property. PHOTO/KAREN COLTMAN

Thousands of dollars owed in rent
Landlord: ‘I have no rights’

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

By the time of Mandy Bedingfield’s Tenancy Tribunal hearing date of March 20, her tenants will owe her about $9000 for their rental of her two-bedroom home on a seven-acre block in Carterton.

In January, Bedingfield applied to the tribunal to have the tenancy ended because the rent was more than $5000 behind.

She gave the tenants 90-days’ notice to leave, which is April 4.

She said the tenants stopped paying rent in December after only being there since June.

She wrote to them many times giving them the chance to pay the rental arrears as she is legally required to do, but they didn’t.

But arrears weren’t the only reason she was unhappy.

She said the tenants breached the tenancy agreement by having a third dog on the property instead of two, and four horses instead of the one agreed.

She said over-grazing had wrecked pasture and the dogs had damaged the inside of the house.

Rubbish inside the house’s laundry. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

“I did an inspection and there was rubbish everywhere and broken windows,” Bedingfield said.

“I informed the tenants that I needed to come around another time, and there were three dogs barking and banging at the door.

“The tenants refused to put them away while I was there. I was frightened and left.

“It’s heartbreaking to see my home, the only home I own being wrecked.

“I lived in a caravan, so I could afford to pay the mortgage on it.

“I am not a rich lady, and this is my only asset.

“But I feel the law is not helping me get possession of my house at all.”

She said she had spent hours and hours filling forms and going between Tenancy Services and the Tenancy Tribunal to get the paperwork right.

The Tenancy Tribunal website says that hearings would be held within 20 days of the application.

But the hearing of March 20 is more than three months after Bedingfield’s application, and meanwhile, the rent owed is piling up.

The Tenancy Tribunal in Masterton usually sits two days a month.

“When there is an increase in applications, we can request additional sitting days. We work with the Ministry of Justice to secure access to rooms, staff, and adjudicators to meet the fluctuating needs as they arise,” Tenancy Services national manager of dispute resolution Allan Galloway said.

“We do this as a matter of course in all courts, big or small, but the smaller courts are where fluctuating demand and urgent matters can be more difficult to manage when trying to ensure effective deployment of resource,” he said.

This week, Bedingfield decided to apply for the 90-day notice period to be waived because the tenants had moved out.

She was denied.

Tenancy adjudicator Kristen Koller said on Thursday that the information provided by Bedingfield was not enough to determine whether the property was abandoned and there were no photos of the inside of the house to show it was empty.

“I am not satisfied that both conditions for the expedited process are met,” Koller said.

“The matter must have a hearing.”

A ground for expediting the 90 days’ notice is if the tenants don’t contest the request.

Bedingfield said the tribunal did not contact the tenants about their situation.

Bedingfield bought the house 15 years ago and has rented it out for seven years.

But this experience has put her off being a landlady.

“I am now not allowed on my property, even though the tenants have moved all their belongings, dogs, and horses because I can’t get hold of them to get their permission.

“I feel I have no rights as a landlady when they have not paid me rent for nearly three months,” she said.

Bedingfield said she had 40 applicants for the house and chose this couple based on their references and situation.

The tenants chosen were living in a hotel previously.

She felt sorry for them and their dogs that were living in their car at the time.

She is meeting with a real estate agent next week to get a market appraisal so she can consider selling.

But she is unsure she would be able to get access to her property.

17 COMMENTS

  1. My simpathies and big hugs go out to this lady. I have happily just sold all my rentals after 50 years of dealing with this type of nonsense. Many other owners have had enough too. The law has pushed us too far and now powerless to have any rights over delinquent tenants. And they know how to work it. Soon the Government can take responsibility for all who can’t look after themselves. I’m Out !

  2. Sadly Landlords have very little rights.
    It is not worth having tenants they really dont care.
    You would be best served living on your own land and having a age appropiate boarder??
    Good luck
    It is a nightmare to be a landlord.

  3. Hello Mandy, I am sorry, I to have had almost the same experience last year with Feral Tenants trashing my house, it has cost me $20,000 plus a years loss of rent to put right!
    The process sucks and they are basically a waist of time.
    This bloody tenant loving socialistic Government is just making it worse!
    I am selling as I can’t be bothers or afford to play tenant roulette anymore.

  4. It is absolutely shameful that the system rewards disgraceful tenants by allowing their behaviour to continue whilst the owner and person responsible to the banks suck the kumara. Govt needs to enect law to toughen up on bad tenants.

  5. Shocking that tenants can ruin your property and owe you thousands of dollars in rent and still control access to the property. The system is crazy people who really need a home who would have paid the rent could have been living her. Nanny states go ne mad

  6. This situation is absolutely ridiculous and bordering on criminal, but sadly not uncommon.
    As Mom and pop landlords for over 20 years who currently have 3 rentals this has happened to us 4 times now and despite eventually winning each claim at the tribunal after long and frustrating delays we only ever recovered a small portion of one of those claims at the rate of $10 p/month.
    The really stupid thing about it all is the current administration is planning to make it even more difficult to get rid of troublesome tenants which in the end will only make the current rental shortage worse as more landlords sell up.

  7. Well this poor landlady is being sold up the river by the inflexibility of bureaucracy . . . and I’m not a landlord or property owner, but a tenant myself. Absolutely appalling in my opinion.

  8. This is a terrible situation. We are landlords so understand. The way things are going there will be more and more homeless as all rights are taken away from us. There are many good landlords who are now going to change their investment thinking due to the governments heavy handedness. Have the ones making these laws ever been a landlord.

  9. What q tragic and heart breaking scenario for this landlord. Unfortunately this seems to be the way things are going _ All rights to the tenants. Renting/ landlordism is becoming so high risk with this present Government and it seems as though there is worse to come.

  10. This current tenancy law and all aspects surrounding it is an ass and a arse. All is loaded against the Land owners, Landlord and you have creaton after creaton taken advantage of loopholes and getting away with what is daylight robbery and fraud and is destroying good honest upstanding citizens lively hood all sanctioned by the cronies of Government and the outdated & dysfunctional tribunal. Shame on them for flouting the regulations they want everyone else to abide by but can’t adhere to themselves because of outright incompetence.

  11. What can family investors expect with a socialist government forcing by legislative decree private investors to become an arm of Housing New Zealand. After 45 years in the rental business oue family is glad to be out of it…now Chris Faafoi can get on with it

  12. The law is not helping landlords at all, I have my rented property as a retirement fund, but are seruiosly considering selling it, it is not worth the heart ache having to deal with tenants an seeing your property slowly bring destroyed .

  13. If this lady is not allowed on the property why was her and her partner there last night and where is the supposed caravan she is living in situated as this is not true and if she is so broke why is she driving such flash vehicles.
    Sorry I hate stories which do not add up.

  14. We had a similar experience, New house, rented out the bottom section. Now the tenants are taking us to the Tribunal next month. We also chose them on their honesty etc, felt sorry for them,. They were only alow one car parking space but ended up parking 3 cars.We gave them the required 90 days notice that we won’t be renewing their contract yet they gave us 3 days notice. The new laws are going to protect the tenants even more. They can do whatever they want to in your rental etc. What rights do you have as a landlord?

  15. That is really terrible. Use bad people get to make a joke of a hard working lady. If the tenancy side with tenants the tenancy should fit the bill.

  16. Yes this is a typical scenario which is ridiculious bureaucracy gone mad ..and will increase more if current rules are changed and the tensncy tribunal doesnt get its act together and employ more people ..goverment are trying to make this a business for low grade judicial workers ..it is going to end up like Immigration NZ ..

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