Bowl that cold house - ex-tenant

'It just about killed me'

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 17/06/2014
Panting-Osborne family
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/FAIRFAX NZ
LOOKING UP: Invercargill family Samantha Panting left, Dwayne Osborne and Gypsy Panting-Osborne, 3, are relieved to be out of a house they say contributed to his ill health.

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An Invercargill man who was taken to hospital while living in a cold house says it should be bowled.

Beneficiary Dwayne Osborne says the rental in Bamborough St had gaps in the walls, holes in the floors, rotten doors and mouldy wardrobes and windows.

He admits he signed up for the property in March without inspecting it, and he fell behind in rent because he chose to pay for food and firewood first.

The house has a heatpump and fireplace but Osborne, his partner Samantha Panting and 3-year-old daughter Gypsy Panting-Osborne, say they slept in the lounge to keep warm.

The fire would not heat more than one room, and the heat pump was useless, he said.

The family suffered from colds, and Osborne was admitted to the critical care unit at Southland Hospital, diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs.

His hospital records note his background includes asthma and hayfever and that he was "in poor living conditions, cold house".

Osborne believes the house is unfit to live in.

"It just about killed me . . . it should be bowled," Osborne said.

The trio have moved into a Housing New Zealand property but face a Tenancy Tribunal hearing over rent arrears.

The property manager and the owners of the property declined to comment until claims made to the tribunal were resolved.

Osborne said the property manager told him the home was warm and previous tenants never had problems.

However, past tenants tracked by The Southland Times recall it as a cold house.

Former tenant Monica Toretto lived in the property with her two sons for about a year until about four months ago.

"The house was very drafty. There are gaps in the walls, and it was really, really damp."

Toretto said she was unable to air the house because she couldn't open the windows without a hammer. "They were swollen shut," she said.

When she first moved in, she provided the property manager with a list of problems but was told the landlord had said she must "take it as it is," she said.

Jono Taylor lived in the house with three friends about two years ago. "It was leaky, mouldy and very cold."

Taylor did not make a formal complaint to the property manager.

Toretto and Taylor said they suffered from colds while living in the property.

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- The Southland Times

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