Tenants from hell

CHEWED UP: Landlord Cassian Steidle’s last tenant left him with chewed doorhandles and ripped up carpet in the main bedroom.
Bruce Mercer

CHEWED UP: Landlord Cassian Steidle’s last tenant left him with chewed doorhandles and ripped up carpet in the main bedroom.

A disappearing tenant has left a Hamilton landlord with a damaged flat full of rubbish and a repair bill of several thousand dollars.

Carpet has been ripped out of the main bedroom of the Dinsdale property, doorknobs chewed by the woman's puppy and cigarettes have been stubbed out in the sink.

Plus there's the missing rent.

Cassian Steidle's tenant disappeared, leaving behind rubbish, food leftovers, old clothes, enough beer bottles to fill ...
Bruce Mercer

Cassian Steidle's tenant disappeared, leaving behind rubbish, food leftovers, old clothes, enough beer bottles to fill the garden shed, and in the garage piles of rubbish - and the carpet from the main bedroom.

Landlord Cassian Steidle's had to call in family and friends for a clean-up effort - and it's going to hit him in the pocket.

"We're going to paint the whole house, we need a new carpet from top to bottom. I might need a new vanity plus the plumbing, probably need to get the bathroom door replaced. Counted without the missing rent, on damage, probably about $6500."

The woman was two weeks behind in her rent and clearly wouldn't be paying this week's.

"Before someone can move in there's going to be another one, two weeks at least. Every time that's more than $300 missing," he said.

The woman was a mother with two young kids and moved in about halfway through 2013.

"It started really really good. She was lovely, she was forthcoming, she was co-operative," Steidle said.

After about nine months, when her partner changed jobs, it "started to stutter".

Ad Feedback

The woman started running $300-$400 behind with rent, despite frequent reminders.

She didn't respond to a notice about a coming rent increase and when Steidle got hold of her she said she'd given notice she was moving out.

By the time the Steidles got back from a holiday last weekend she'd gone.

But she'd left rubbish, food leftovers, old clothes, enough beer bottles to fill the garden shed, and in the garage piles of rubbish - and the carpet from the main bedroom.

There was a bent windowframe, door handles were missing and several of those that remained had been chewed on by the woman's dog.

Yet Steidle's philosophical about the experience, saying renting houses has ups and downs like any other business.

"I suppose you can learn from your mistakes when it comes for looking for the right tenants. . . But there's no crystal ball where you can find the right answer."

A good insurance policy was also vital, he said.


There are signs that a good tenant is "going bad", says a Hamilton property manager.

Melanie Yeoman, general manager of Harcourts Rentals, says monitoring and prevention is better than a cure for damaged properties.

"There are signs that that's going to happen," she says.

"Just little things like they stop paying rent. Or if they miss a week or if they're getting erratic, if they've usually paid really well. Because sometimes tenants just go bad."

Harcourts inspects each of the properties it manages every 13 weeks, or more often if the manager has concerns about how the property is being treated.

The maximum frequency that a landlord or property manager can inspect a property is once a month.

Yeoman says a warning sign is when the tenant gets defensive or aggravated, rather than apologising and agreeing to fix damage.

She says the company checks the banking every day to make sure rent payments are in order.

"So we know that same day if they've missed the rent the night before."

Vetting tenants when they first apply for a property is another good preventative measure, says Yeoman.

They look out for signs of drug use and other obvious indicators.

"But sometimes people present really well. So we have an application form where people have to give three rental references."

Check all of the references, and make sure they are genuine references rather than family or friends, says Yeoman.

She also runs a credit check and finds out if the prospective tenant has any history at the claims tribunal.

If it's a first-time tenant or they don't have enough rental references, a reference can be taken from an employer. Or a family member could act as a guarantor for the property.

Yeoman says these are all services that property managers provide that reduce the chance of a rental disaster.

"It happens a lot more with DIY landlords.

" It doesn't happen that often for us."

It is common for money to be taken out of the bond at the end of a tenancy, but it's usually for minor repairs, cleaning, or occasionally rent arrears.

Big issues like holes in walls usually get noticed at an inspection and tenants are made to fix them at the time.

Evictions do happen, but not too often, she says. Harcourts Rentals has evicted fewer than 10 tenants in the last year.

Only one property the company manages was trashed in the last year.

"She'd been a good tenant up until basically she stopped paying rent and then she did abandon the property."

The case went to tribunal and the owner got $7000 back to cover damage and rent arrears.

While some cases can be mediated, if it goes to the tribunal at a busy time of year the complainant could have to wait six weeks and may not be receiving rent for that time.

Yeoman says the property in this case wasn't in excellent condition to start with, and that's typical of these cases.

There are very few issues with high-end properties, she says.

The other problem is if a tenant abandons a damaged property it can be hard to find them to get compensation, says Yeoman.

"You might never get it back . . . Or they pay it off at like $10 for the next 900 years."

 - Waikato Times

Ad Feedback
special offers

Iconic Auckland chippy to close

Derek Drummond will serve the last scoop of chips on August 27 at the Fish Pot Cafe in Mission Bay.

All Blacks and politicians have had their fill here, but now it's time for the Fish Pot Cafe to bid farewell.

Mum's care 'unacceptable' - DHB

Susan Thorn was kind and caring, her daughter says.

Susan Thorn was given six to 12 months to live. She died a week later after receiving "poor" care in hospital.

A musical love story

Stephen Amos and Katrina Talbot, who are from Auckland and Christchurch respectively, live in Melbourne with their two dogs.

Stephen Amos met his partner Katrina Talbot when casting for the production of Mamma Mia!

Who sits on NZ's top boards?

Stock Photo - Black businessman's hand shaking white businessman's hand Image ID : 8999994
african, agreement, american, ...

Are New Zealand's highest-paying boards still pale, male and stale?


Artists or wealthy donors?

Auckland artist Stanley Palmer did not realise the Labour Party had named him as a big political donor. All he had done ...

Labour is collecting tens of thousands of dollars in donations from art auctions – and naming the artists, not the buyers, as donors.

$10.5b on new roads

PM Bill English samples the goods at the Hastings Farmers' Market.

PM Bill English announces 10 new roads, including a four-lane Napier to Hastings highway.

Snow, gales to hit

Wild weather.

Severe weather watches issued for Marlborough, Wellington, Kapiti and Wairarapa.

The coroporate diversity gap

Stock Photo - Black businessman's hand shaking white businessman's hand Image ID : 8999994
african, agreement, american, ...

Are New Zealand's highest-paying boards still pale, male and stale?


Making Chch's new stadium work

Perth Stadium and precinct should open early next year and includes many innovations in stadium design that are popular ...

The live experience has to be better than the home experience, or fans won't show up.

Saving Chch tourism

Images like this have been used to promote Christchurch as the gateway to Canterbury and the wider South Island.

Much is riding on the success of the new council agency charged with getting the city's tourism industry out of intensive care.

Quartet saved by a smartphone light

Chris Coory, of LandSAR, with the rescued group, from left, Melissa Bowley, Lauren Rees, Meg Pidegeon and Skyla Bowley, ...

"Another five seconds later we wouldn't have seen it," says rescue pilot.

Fire destroys mid-Canterbury house

Fire has destroyed a house in Mayfield, near Ashburton, in mid-Canterbury.

No-one home as blaze rips through a wooden building in Mayfield, near Ashburton.


TOP's Maori bottom line

King Tuheitia, far left, listens to The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan's speech at Turangawaewae Marae in ...

The Opportunities Party leader spoke at Turangawaewae during the koroneihana.

22 arrests overnight

Police officers described Sunday morning's vibe downtown as agressive (file photo).

Hamilton police had a pretty busy Saturday night.

Former mayor returns to law

Julie Hardaker will specialise in employment and public law, and be involved with Mai Chen's Superdiversity Centre.

Julie Hardaker's hard at work, still - just not as the mayor of Hamilton.

Clothing found near murder site video

Swedish tourists Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen disappeared on the Coromandel in 1989. David Tamihere was accused and ...

Bushman's discovery sparks fresh interest in one of the country's most enduring murder cases: the missing Swedish tourists.


What is it with National and ponytails?

190817 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Paula Bennett was in New Plymouth on the campaign trail.
 Charlie Godwin (15) ...

With ponytail in hand, this National Party minister had permission.

Birthday business gift

Anika has been learning the value of money.

They've gone one better than the good ol' roadside lemonade stand.

A long awaited sickness

Taking a day off to look after sick kids is the worst decision you will ever make. (File photo)

OPINION: You could take a day off work to look after sick kids or you could just run for the hills.

Person trapped in car

Police attended a car crash in Inglewood on Saturday. (File photo)

A person was trapped in their car after their door caved in when they crashed.


Volunteering in Jordan

Zoe Dekker will head to Jordan to help Syrian refugees. She is walking 100km with her father, Paul Dekker, to raise money.

Zoe Dekker is heading to Jordan to help Syrian refugees.

No injures after crash

Police attended a one-car crash on Manawatu's Saddle Rd.

Police were called to a one-person car crash on Friday night.

Roller derby dreams come true

Swamp City jammer Helen Burke, aka Menace, on the burst against the Dead End Derby at CET Arena 3.

Roller derby is one of the fastest-growing women's sports in the world and it's on a roll in Palmerston North.

Call for warning signs

Jodeci Day, 6, was hit by ute on Highbury Ave and her mum Casey Bush is now calling for more school sings down the road.

The mother of a young girl hit by ute while walking home from school is calling for more signage.


Art Expo draws crowds

More than 1000 people have already attended the  the sixth running of  Art Expo Nelson 2017, held at the Trafalgar ...

Nelson's Art Expo Nelson has returned to its original home.

The long road back

Dan and Andrea with son Andre and daughter Yasmina. The Nelson family are recovering from the impact of a serious road ...

It was a routine trip home after a long weekend, but in seconds a Nelson family's lives were turned upside down.

Hansen: Squire 'phenomenal'

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19:  Liam Squire of the All Blacks is tackled during The Rugby Championship Bledisloe Cup ...

All Blacks No 6 "lovely to watch" as he stepped up in Sydney, coach Steve Hansen says.

Humans of Nelson

Humans of Nelson

A national storytelling initiative has hit Nelson, driven by a  passionate group of locals.


Push for change on plastic bags

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says more than 900 people have taken part in a survey on ...

The results are in, and the people are pushing for a charge on plastic bags.

Eduction issues

Marlborough Girls’ College acting principal Jo Chamberlain.

What are our aspirations for our young people today and in the future, and how best do we as a local community support them?

Makos can learn plenty from first-up reversal

Replacement midfielder Levi Aumua attempts to pierce the Canterbury defence at Trafalgar Park on Friday.

If the Makos are seeking a blueprint for success after a 39-0 hiding, the match video would be a good place to start.

Wine on tourists' agendas

Tourists enjoy wine and food at Black Barn Vineyards in Hawkes Bay.

Cultured wine tourists spend more, stay longer, and are looking for a social experience.

South Canterbury

TBHS First XV knock over Christ's

TBHS wing Tevita Eukaliti has too much pace for the defence on his way to scoring in the corner.

Timaru Boys' High School First XV show too much class in victory over Christ's College.

Hospital services key 

Timaru Hospital.

Services key to Timaru Hospital rebuild, observers and sector groups say.

Offering support for fathers

Jason Brokenshire looks at a recent photo of him with his three children.  He hopes to set up a support group for fellow ...

Timaru man wants to create awareness and support for other fathers after separation.

Man injured by chemical reaction

A man was taken to Oamaru Hospital on Saturday afternoon after coming into contact with a drum of chemicals.

Man taken to Oamaru Hospital with hand injuries after chemical reaction on Saturday.


Robotic seal helping dementia patients

Enliven Southland quality of life co-ordinator Shannon Tokona and nurse Julie Worner with Paro the robotic seal, who is ...

Meet Paro, the robotic seal helping elderly dementia patients.

Car hits cop, dog

The scene on Dee St, Invercargill, where a police officer and dog were hurt as a spiked car came to a halt.

A policeman and dog went under a car as officers tried to subdue a driver in Invercargill.

Teen murder accused can be named

Name suppression has been lifted for teen accused of murder in Invercargill.

An Invercargill teenager accused of murder can now be named.

Bottled water improvisation

Invercargill woman Christine Brown, with husband Lee, before her face reconstruction at Dunedin Hospital on Tuesday.

Surgeons reconstructing Christine Brown's face were thrown curveball when operating theatre's water was contaminated.

Ad Feedback