A recently widowed woman was told to move out of her home of 15 years after Housing New Zealand failed to do a proper assessment of her family's situation.
Just months after her husband Setope died Ausange Siloi was told she and her family had to find other accommodation with relatives or in a rental property and put their belongings in storage.
A formal eviction letter was sent to the family. Mrs Siloi was originally given 21 days to move out of her four-bedroom Mangere home but that changed to "as soon as possible".
But Housing New Zealand has admitted it did not follow the correct procedure after Mr Siloi's death in June.
The previous tenancy manager should have checked if Mrs Siloi could have been added to the property's tenancy agreement, it says.
The agreement was originally in the late Mrs Siloi's name only. The family asked to have that changed but were told to wait until after his death.
Regional manager South Auckland Denise Fink apologised for the mistake and says she will speak to Mrs Siloi in person.
"We will now take the opportunity to remind all our tenancy managers of the absolute necessity to ensure due process is followed," Ms Fink says.
"That said, tenants finding themselves in this distressing position are not automatically entitled to take up residency following the death of a partner or family member."
Housing New Zealand assesses the needs of each family when circumstances change.
Ms Fink says the family is now likely to qualify for a three-bedroom corporation home.
Mrs Siloi is originally from Samoa and English is her second language.
She wanted to share her story so "other Islander families aren't backed into a corner because of language barriers".
She was the sole carer of her late husband after he suffered complications from a stroke he had seven years ago. Both had been working up until he fell ill.
Her daughter Souls Diaz says that if the Siloi family has to move out of their home their only option will be to live with her.
She lives in a three-bedroom home with her three children.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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