Pair asked to go after complaint

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 08:29 12/09/2012

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A Blenheim couple are upset they have been asked to leave their council flat in Blenheim with no explanation after they complained about a neighbour.

Kevin Bryant, 66, and his partner, Devon Stewart, have been living in the block of council pensioner housing on Cleghorn St since April, when they moved from Christchurch after their flat there was red-zoned following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Mr Bryant said the Marlborough District Council property management company, APL Property Blenheim, served him with a notice on Friday terminating his tenancy, the day after he advised them he was going to get legal advice over suggestions of anti-social behaviour of a neighbour.

He had complained to APL about the man, who he claimed was listening to him and his partner through the thin dividing walls, and the company had offered them another flat in the complex. They decided to turn it down because the previous tenant had been a heavy smoker and they suffer from asthma and other respiratory health problems, he said.

While waiting for another flat to become available in the complex, Mr Bryant decided to get legal advice and told APL what he was doing. The next day the couple got a letter advising them they have until December 1 to leave, but it did not give any reason why their tenancy was terminated.

Mr Bryant has applied to the Tenancy Tribunal to overturn the notice.

He said he has good references from previous landlords and had spent his own money to make repairs in the flat.

"We have been discriminated against. Because I complained, we have been treated like this. I can understand if we didn't pay our rent or we had wild parties, but we didn't."

APL property manager Stephen Folster said he could not comment on Mr Bryant's case because of the claim to the tribunal. Under the Tenancy Act a landlord does not have to give a reason for asking a tenant to vacate a property if they are given at least 90 days' notice, he said. He was confident the right decision had been made.

"Sometimes with some people it just doesn't fit for them to be in the council complex, Mr Folster said.

"For us it's important for the health of the complex for people to get on with each other to a certain level, to be as best as they can respectful to others and leave them to do their thing.

"We have been involved with council since 1997 and we've only applied for six people to be removed in all that time," he said.

Marlborough District Council deputy mayor and elderly person's advocate Jenny Andrews said she was not aware of anyone having been asked to leave the Cleghorn St complex in the past.

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"It's always very amiable there and the staff at APL handle things well and with sensitivity."

She had spoken at length with Mr Bryant, but was not prepared to comment further because of the Tenancy Tribunal process.

Mr Bryant's neighbour declined to comment to the Marlborough Express.

- The Marlborough Express

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