10 Jul 2009

Tenancy Tribunal hears gang eviction appeals

6:43 pm on 10 July 2009

A Tenancy Tribunal adjudicator has reserved a decision on whether the families of Mongrel Mob members in Lower Hutt state houses should be evicted.

In March, Housing New Zealand issued five households with 90-day notices after a spate of incidents of gang intimidation which forced a woman and her children out of their home in Farmer Crescent in the suburb of Pomare.

Two of the houses have been vacated, but three other families are digging in their heels.

Their lawyer Robert Lithgow, QC, told the tribunal on Friday the termination notices were unlawful under the Bill of Rights Act.

Mr Lithgow said his clients were given 90-day notices because they are the de-facto partners of people Housing New Zealand does not want around.

He says no criminal acts by their partners have yet been proved. The men are not party to the tenancies and the agreements cannot be terminated on the grounds of a de-facto relationship.

Housing New Zealand's counsel Steven Haszard argues the organisation is fully entitled to possession orders to recover its property under the Residential Tenancies Act.

Mr Haszard says the notices were validly compiled and served.