6 Nov 2017

Landlord faces hefty bill after rental trashed

6:18 pm on 6 November 2017

It's likely to cost a Nelson landlord thousands of dollars to repair and clean up a house he owns in Richmond, after it was damaged by a tenant.

The pile of rubbish is only a third of what it was after a cleanup.

The pile of rubbish is only a third of what it was after a cleanup. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Barry Thompson said the tenant was behind in rent by about $2500, and now the home could not be lived in until it had been drug-tested and possibly decontaminated.

The Nelson accountant, who owns several commercial and residential properties, was advising others against being a residential landlord.

He rented the house to the particular tenant about 10 months ago on advice from a guarantor, who said she was under the care of a church group.

When RNZ visited the home today, the guarantor was there helping to clean the property, having already taken several small truckloads of rubbish to the dump, and was about to tackle the over-grown garden.

Mr Thompson said he let the house to a young woman who had a small child but things went "out of control" very quickly.

It appeared people had been living in the garage, and despite several attempts to make arrangements to visit the property, he was unable to get into the house.

The once simple garage was now lined with Pinex tiles, for what he assumed was noise insulation.

The windows were draped with make-shift curtains and a sharp odour made eyes water on entry to the garage, which was strewn with rubbish.

Mr Thompson said empty drums of chemicals also made him suspicious.

Nelson landlord, Barry Thompson.

Nelson landlord, Barry Thompson. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

"The rubbish pile is only a fraction of what was there the other day," he said.

"The guarantor has taken away a huge load already, but behind the garage were supermarket trolleys, a recycling bin full of rubbish, bikes, car tyres, and until about three weeks ago there were also three old cars with number plates taken off," Mr Thompson said.

Inside the house, every door has been knocked off its hinges, and pushed so hard the handles have punched through walls. Windows have been broken and new drapes ruined.

"The whole thing is a shambles. The cost will be huge," he said.

Mr Thompson has run an accountancy firm for 55 years and has been a landlord for many years.

He liked to think he was doing a good deed by charging $280 a week for the house beside a park and minutes from central Richmond.

"I like to help people but I don't feel like helping this person. I didn't like coming to see her to check the premises because I never knew what might happen."

Mr Thompson said the clean-up could not begin until the property had been tested for drug use or manufacturing.

He was worried that some people bought rentals thinking they could "make a cheap bob".

If people were considering going into rental property, he recommended buying a two-unit home so they could live in the one next door.

"Then you can at least keep your eye on what's going on."

Mr Thompson understood the former tenant had gone to a local campground, and then on to another property.

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