Tenancy unexpected hitch in property deal
Owners forced to camp on the lawnKAT PICKFORD
A Rai Valley housing dispute should be solved in 18 days and the new owners able to move in, but not before the angst was played out on national television.
A report on Campbell Live on Monday night showed Isaac and Jody Johnson had resorted to living in a caravan outside the Hebberds Rd house, unable to move in because the previous owner had not moved out.
The Johnsons had been under the impression they could move in on August 3 and had been paying the mortgage, rates and insurance since July 31, they said on the show.
The property was previously owned by the Nelson registered company, River Hills Development Ltd, owned by Penelope Wilson-Sharpe - who is living in the house - and Stephanie Goodsir.
Ms Wilson-Sharpe's lawyer Tony Stallard, of Stallard Law, said his client has a separate legal identity to the company and has a legal agreement to lease the property.
"The new owners take over the property subject to any existing tenancies or existing leases.
"The tender documents make it clear that the bank in selling does not guarantee vacant possession.
"When you purchase at a mortgagee sale you take a real risk of inheriting significant problems."
Under a provision of the Property Law Act the owners are required to give the tenant 20 working days notice to end the lease agreement. As the Johnsons gave Ms Wilson-Sharpe notice to terminate the lease agreement on Saturday, they would be able to move in within 20 days.
He and the Johnsons' lawyer, Ross McKechnie of Hunter Ralfe Lawyers, had discussed steps towards resolving the issues yesterday, which had been more useful than getting the media involved, he said.
"The intimidating tactics of Campbell Live has my client extremely stressed for her own health and welfare.
"It certainly could have been handled in a much better manner, there was absolutely no intent to try and understand the situation."
It is also usual for the conditions of mortgagee sale to not include chattels such as heat pumps, floor covers, blinds, curtains, dishwashers and light fittings.
"When you buy a house through a mortgagee sale, you run the risk of buying a shell of a house, which will be made completely apparent by the tender documents," he said.
There could be a number of reasons why the Johnsons were unaware of the conditions of the tender, but he did not wish to speculate.
The Johnsons were not at the caravan when the Marlborough Express visited the property yesterday and their lawyer did not respond to a request to contact the newspaper.
- The Marlborough Express