Reprieve for family after urgent hearing

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013
Brent Webster
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ

TIRING FIGHT: Brent Webster, wife Jenny, and sons Simon, 9 and Ryan, 11, are relieved they do not have to leave their home on Monday.

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An Invercargill family who faced eviction this week has been given a reprieve following an urgent Tenancy Tribunal hearing in Invercargill yesterday.

The Webster family were to be evicted on Monday following a disagreement over repayment of rent arrears.

When Brent and Jenny Webster did not receive the eviction order, they asked rental management company First National for a copy and were told it had been lost by the Queenstown court at the conclusion of the hearing.

Yesterday, a tribunal initiated by the adjudicator was convened to deal with the matter.

Mr Webster said the application for termination of tenancy was declined on the condition he paid his current rent and arrears.

He said the past week had been tough on the family and they were pleased with the outcome.

They were overwhelmed with phone calls of support from strangers, he said.

"If there is something I have learned this week, it's not to let pride get in the way. My advice to others is, if you really need help don't be scared to ask because there are people out there that are willing to help."

However, just hours after the tribunal decision to say the family could stay, a 90 day notice to terminate the tenancy was put in their letterbox from First National.

The family decided not to fight.

"The way this whole thing has been handled by the property manager was not good and our relationship with her has since deteriorated. I do realise she was doing her job but it felt like a personal attack on us, so we have decided to find a new home," he said.

Mr Webster said he now had enough time to find another place without the stress of the eviction hanging over his family.

The Websters lost the bond on the Vernon St property when property company Easystart Rental Management went into liquidation. In an attempt to recoup a bond loss, Mr Webster withheld rent from First National, which took over their property management, for four weeks.

The company took them to a tribunal which ordered the rent be repaid in instalments.

A missed payment during Christmas led to the eviction order.

First National general manager Dave Price said the adjudicator had made a decision and the company, on behalf of the landlord, would abide by it.

"We are not a nasty company - we are sympathetic - but we have to act in accordance with the landlord," he said.

It was a standard termination notice and he declined to say why the landlord had sent it.

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- The Southland Times

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