Landlord forced to shut his Auckland boarding houses

One of the boarding houses at 42 Clayburn Rd.
SIMON SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

One of the boarding houses at 42 Clayburn Rd.

A landlord has had three west Auckland boarding houses shut down and been warned to get a fourth up to scratch.

Liangguo "Tony" Xu converted suburban houses into small rooms, including garages, minor dwellings and in one case using a caravan.

He charged an average of $250 a week for each border, and in one property had 16 rooms.

Glen Sharman, 43, Monique Haagh, 47, Kelston MP Carmel Sepuloni, a man who didn't want to be named, Tokoruam Saito, 60, ...
SIMON SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Glen Sharman, 43, Monique Haagh, 47, Kelston MP Carmel Sepuloni, a man who didn't want to be named, Tokoruam Saito, 60, and Barbara Leaana, 52. All, bar MP Seuloni, were boarders of this house until they had leave following an abatement notice. They are not happy they were not given 28 days notice.

Neighbours have complained of domestics, police visits, noise, public urination, vandalism, rubbish dumping, burnouts, aggressive dogs and threatening behaviour from the tenants.

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They asked not to be named as some boarders' behaviour had them fearing for their lives.

One of Liangguo "Tony" Xu's boarding house at 60 Routley Dr, Glen Eden.
SIMON SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

One of Liangguo "Tony" Xu's boarding house at 60 Routley Dr, Glen Eden.

Auckland Council gave Xu a month's notice to shut down his houses on Clayburn and Routley Rds in Glen Eden, and Beaubank Rd in Kelston.

They were being operated without resource consent, with too many tenants and in breach of the Building Code.

His house on Rimu St in New Lynn was given a notice to fix under the Building Act.

A dog outside the boarding house at 42 Clayburn Rd. A neighbour had previously told a resource consent hearing the ...
SIMON SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

A dog outside the boarding house at 42 Clayburn Rd. A neighbour had previously told a resource consent hearing the houses' rules allowed no pets, but she had been attacked by a dog out the front of the property.

Xu did not give boarders at Routley Rd the required notice of 28 days, as he had looked to appeal the abatement notice.

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The stress of having a few weeks to find a new place to live prompted six to speak out days before being evicted.

They complained of sometimes having to board with criminals, and of the quality of the house.

A caravan at the boarding house at 60 Routley Dr.
SUPPLIED

A caravan at the boarding house at 60 Routley Dr.

"To be honest with you it could be a lot better," said Glen Sharman​, a boarder of Xu's for five years.

"Personally I wouldn't live where I'm living right now. Why am I? Because I've got nowhere else to go."

Xu said he did not tolerate illegal activity, and evicted offenders.

He planned to get his properties up to standard, with no more than 10 boarders each.

Although people thought he made a lot of money, he said he was "not too rich".

Xu said he was a responsible landlord, responding to tenant and neighbours' concerns. 

But Kelston MP Carmel Sepuloni said Xu was exploiting the housing crisis.

"The accommodation he has provided to quite vulnerable people has been inadequate and he does not deserve to continue operating boarding houses of any sort."

Neighbours of Xu's houses have submitted a 171-signature petition to Parliament calling for a legislative review and better regulation of boarding houses.

"We are being let down by the organisations that are supposed to be helping the wider community," one said.

 - Stuff

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