'Filth' leaves daughter speechless

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 05/04/2014
tenta
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE / Fairfax NZ

DAMAGE CONTROL: Tania Wood cleans up the mess left behind by the tenant of a Timaru house.

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A Timaru woman is "disheartened" after finding her father's house littered with rubbish and its backyard used as a dumping ground.

The tenant gave notice after hearing the house had sold.

When Tania Wood went to visit the Timaru address on behalf of her father this week, she discovered rubbish scattered throughout each room, dust an inch thick covering parts of the carpet, a damaged and filthy toilet and large piles of rubbish littering the backyard.

"The inside guts me the most because it's absolutely disgusting. I can't put into words how filthy it is."

Wood started cleaning up the mess on Thursday, armed with rubber gloves and a face mask. She planned to throw away many of the cleaning utensils afterwards, including her vacuum cleaner.

She said the man had lived in the house for about 10 years.

He was a friend of a friend and Wood's father, wanting to do his friend a good deed, did not charge a bond, she said.

"We did checks on him. We trusted him."

Wood said they did regular inspections at the house, but over the years they lessened. The last was "maybe" a year ago.

"As his rent was up to date and there was no issues, my dad assumed, I guess, it was OK as when [inspections had] been done in the past [the house] definitely was not in that state."

Her "anger" resulted in her delivering some of the unwanted items, including an obsolete television set, to what she believes is his new address.

Wood plans to take him to the Tenancy Tribunal.

The tribunal encourages landlords to keep in regular contact with their tenants and to address any problems as soon as they arise.

It also notes that the tenant is responsible for any damage that they, or their guests, cause to the property - either intentionally or carelessly.

There were 260 Tenancy Tribunal applications made last year in Timaru.

TENANT CLAIMS MESS ALLOWED

A man at the centre of a Timaru tenancy dispute has claimed he was told he could leave unwanted rubbish behind.

Stuart Dellow gave notice to his landlord after hearing the house had been sold.

However, when Tania Wood went to visit the address on behalf of her father, the landlord, this week, she discovered rubbish scattered throughout each room, dust an inch thick covering parts of the carpet, a damaged and filthy toilet and large piles of rubbish littering the backyard.

Dellow claims he allowed residents in an adjoining flat to dispose of their rubbish over his fence when they were moving out.

He was going to destroy it. He made the offer as a favour, he said.

The previous tenant also left rubbish behind, he said.

He said the real estate agent had told him "if you can't get rid of anything, or whatever's left, we will dump".

"I couldn't fill the otto bins up any more."

As a result he left "a couple of things" round the back of the house, he said.

Dellow agreed he had left the bathroom "a bit messy", but said he was not given enough time to move out and clean up, while holding down a fulltime job.

"The real estate agent was pushing to get me out of there before the time was up [on April 1]. . . I've said my side of the story."

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The real estate company, which has sold the property, declined to comment because it was not involved in the tenancy agreement. The property was looked after privately, not under property management.

DISPUTES

The three leading reasons for tenancy tribunal applications in 2013 were:

Rent arrears, including vacated rent arrears – 172 applications

Compensation for damages/ vacated premises – 22 applications

Termination for abandonment – 12 applications

- South Canterbury

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