11 Oct 2013

Landlord fined over illegal flat conversions

8:41 pm on 11 October 2013

A court has fined an Auckland landlord $60,000 for running substandard properties, including converting garages to flats - but is still allowed to let them until February.

Auckland Council says Madhav Karmarkar has been fined $60,000 for turning two properties in Takapuna and three in Mt Roskill into a total of 12 smaller units, without consent.

The conversions were discovered after a tenant asked whether it was legal to rent a garage as a flat.

The council says two of the converted units were once garages, one with a low cramped ceiling, and the other even retaining the external roller door.

The Environment Court handed down the fine, and ordered Karmarkar to return the illegal units to their original state.

Auckland Council says illegal conversions can put tenants at risk, often forcing people to live in substandard accommodation with problems commonly including overcrowding, unsanitary conditions.

A spokesperson for the council Julie Bevan says the flats are small and cramped and in some cases the bathroom and kitchen are the same room.

She says the fine sends a message to landlords that they must provide accomodation of an adequate standard.

Ms Bevan says Karmakar has been told to disestablish the illegal units and return them to their legal state by February next year.