Family left with 'nowhere to go'
A Palmerston North family who locked their gates to avoid eviction have been given marching orders for a second time.
There was a tearful confrontation at the Hopkins' home yesterday as police and court bailiffs arrived at their rental property to ask them to leave.
The Hopkins family clamped a bicycle lock on their gate last week in response to their court-ordered eviction after several rent payments were missed.
The deadline was yesterday extended by a day.
Tenant Mandy Hopkins said the situation left the family, which included a month-old baby, on the streets.
She claimed they had been unable to find a place to rehouse themselves and five years' worth of belongings.
"They expect us to clean out the house but we have got nowhere to go. We have been trying to get a [Housing NZ] house to move into so we can just move all our stuff in."
Ms Hopkins labelled the eviction of her family of five "unfair".
She had lost her job but provided property managers and the Manawatu Standard with proof of an inheritance payment she is to receive this month.
She said her offer to pay rent in arrears and several weeks in advance to tide the family over while they searched for a new house was rejected by the landlord.
Watsons Property manager Greg Watson said the agency had "inherited" the property in the final year of the Hopkins' tenancy and the eviction was a matter before the courts.
He added that the process had been under way for some time and he did not wish to breach the Hopkins' privacy by going into detail about the reasons for the eviction.
Mr Watson said they had managed to get the tenants an extra 24 hours.
"We have tried to help them and put things right so they can help themselves and we have expanded the time frame because they seemed closer to finding a place to live," Mr Watson said.
"I hope it will work out for them... while we feel sorry for the situation they are in, there are other parties that we also feel sorry for, such as the owner of the property.
"It's not a nice situation, unfortunately, but we have been working through this process."
Manawatu Tenants' Union adviser Kevin Reilly said the situation was "totally unacceptable".
He questioned where the support was for people facing homelessness after eviction.
"People are getting into trouble, this sort of situation is happening at properties all over the country, this is what people are facing," he said.
"I understand the landlord's point of view but at the end of the day - have a heart."
Ms Hopkins' partner, Paul Harnett, said the family was more fortunate than some as they had some money on the way.
"For people with nothing it's very grim," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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