Brother against Brother…

An Auckland couple were given 90 days notice 4 days before the July 1st deadline for higher levels of insulation, because the landlord had not completed the work on time.

Unfortunately, if the landlord had not completed the work on time, he had no choice. It is now illegal to have tenants in a rental property where the insulation does not meet the new legal standards, and the tenant can demand a payment of $4000 for failure to comply.

Please note that the payment goes to the tenant, not the government.

A couple who were evicted from their home of 10 years four days before new rules to make rental properties warmer and drier came into effect are considering legal action against their landlord.

On Thursday, the pair from Henderson in West Auckland received a letter saying they had to leave the house within 90 days so the homeowner could renovate it to meet insulation standards.

Landlords had until Monday to ensure their rental properties met the standards, which require that rental properties must have underfloor and ceiling insulation. Those who have failed to comply with the regulations can be forced to pay their tenants up to $4000.

The wife said the house had been in a state of disrepair for some time – they had put buckets out every time it rained because the roof leaked, but multiple property managers had overlooked the issues.

They were still living there, though. Why? Because the rent reflected the state of the property, and the few rentals available.

“I have to say, we feel pretty gutted about it all.”
To make matters worse, the woman’s husband, who is in his 70s, has heart problems and the couple doubted they could find suitable rental accommodation in their price range because they have dogs.

So, they have dogs, they are on a limited income, so they are not in a great position. Nevertheless, the offer to dob in the landlord was just too tempting.

They planned to ask for the $4000 from their landlord because the landlord had failed to bring the property up to standard by the July 1 deadline and would then look at legal action.

Phil Twyford is trying to push a law that says that landlords cannot just evict tenants without a good reason (although failing to bring a property up to the required legal standard in time must qualify as a good reason) but this has not happened yet. In other words, the landlord is within his rights to give the tenant notice… and it is likely that there is nothing that they can do about it. Yet.

Auckland Tenants’ Protection Association co-ordinator Angela Maynard said kicking tenants out to avoid complying with the law seemed like “a rather stupid idea” for landlords.
She believed tenants who had been evicted over the standards could file an application with the Tenancy Tribunal for retaliatory notice.
A retaliatory notice is where a landlord issues a tenant with an eviction notice in retaliation to a tenant standing up for their rights.


This will be an interesting case if it does ever get to court. A landlord is not allowed to have tenants living in a property that is not compliant. In this case, it seems that the landlord has opted to do a number of renovations at the same time… but didn’t want to risk being fined $4000 for non compliance.

He had obviously read his tenants well.

Yesterday, I was in my favourite Asian store, buying multiple boxes of Chinese teabags. Normally, of course, they would give me a plastic bag. They didn’t offer one, but I had momentarily forgotten about the total ban. I almost asked for one… and then stopped. The last thing I would want would be to get them into trouble for trying to look after their customers, in case there was a climate Nazi in the queue behind me. So I left the store, juggling boxes of teabags, reminding myself for the millionth time to bring bags when I go shopping.

What I don’t like here is the insidious attitude in these policies, both of which came in on the same day, that the authorities will do nothing, but instead will rely on people dobbing in errant landlords and errant shopkeepers.

Since when did we live in a society where people dobbed in others to the authorities, for relatively minor infringements – particularly the plastic bags?

This government is pitching ordinary people against each other. Just like China under Chairman Mao, or Russia under Stalin, we can now dob in people we don’t like, even if they have done nothing wrong. What is stopping one of the other Asian stores in Lower Hutt from dobbing in one of the others, just to ruin their business?

All of this sounds like the Stasi to me.

Photoshopped image credit: Luke

What do you think, Comrade?