Renters trash Christchurch property, costing owner potentially 'hundreds of thousands'

IAIN MCGREGOR/STUFF

Renters caused more than $100,000 worth of damage to this Christchurch home.

A Christchurch rental property owner is facing potentially "hundreds of thousands" of dollars worth of repairs after tenants trashed their home when they were evicted.

Plywood and flattened Double Brown beer boxes cover the broken windows of the east Christchurch home, which also has holes in the walls and an empty space where the hot water cylinder was stolen from. 

The property's owner, who did not want to be named, said he found upwards of four tonnes of rubbish and abandoned belongings strewn through the house and around the section after the tenants were given 40 days to vacate the premises when they stopped paying rent.

Fixing the rental property could cost its owner upwards of $100,000.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

Fixing the rental property could cost its owner upwards of $100,000.

"They managed to have a home-wrecking party. The f…ing place is full of s…, it's unbelievable," he said.

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"We took away one-and-a-half tonnes of rubbish and that's only [on Sunday], and we've got probably twice that again to go."

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Abandoned trolleys, toys, shoes and rubbish were found in the yard and a shed out the back was "full of old prams" he believed were stolen. The tenants used the property "to hoard all the stolen goods", he said.

Hundreds of mobile phone top-up cards and driver licences were found, along with about 200 shoes, many of which had already been thrown out. About $500 had been spent dumping rubbish so far.

The owner said a woman with custody of her three grandchildren, two boys aged 11 and 17, had lived in the property for about seven years.

The owner says he barricaded some of the doors, hoping the tenants will not be able to return and cause more damage.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

The owner says he barricaded some of the doors, hoping the tenants will not be able to return and cause more damage.

An advocate for the homeowner, who also did not want to be named, said the children who lived there were responsible for smashing more than 100 windows in the area, stealing a cash register, shoplifting from nearby shops, vandalism, harassing elderly people, assault and setting fires.

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He believed the police and Oranga Tamariki – which is working with the family – were doing what they could, but neither had the resources to deal with such issues.

"What's wrong with the system? . . . I think they could've done a little bit better, but what resources do they have?

Flattened Double Brown beer boxes patch a smashed window, while plywood covers several others.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

Flattened Double Brown beer boxes patch a smashed window, while plywood covers several others.

"The biggest issue is that society needs to get involved with kids like that before they become those kids.

"The earlier children like this have a secure loving environment then the better for them and us."

The homeowner originally said police were uninterested in dealing with his complaints, but on Tuesday morning, the day after Stuff inquired with police about the issues, they "changed their mind" and would visit the property.

 

The property's condition had become much worse since an uncle of the children moved into the house recently, the owner said. It was a "pigsty" before, but then the owner began receiving complaints "all the time from everybody".

"He's just taken over slowly, from what we've found out, and made the place the party pad."

Oranga Tamariki Canterbury regional manager Blair McKenzie said the claims were "not something we know much about or can comment on".

One of the rubbish piles left on the property, after the owner already spent about $500 dumping what was left behind.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

One of the rubbish piles left on the property, after the owner already spent about $500 dumping what was left behind.

"While we are aware of them our connection with the family is minimal . . . Oranga Tamariki doesn't have relationships with private residential landlords, and we don't provide housing for families we work with."

'NOTHING BUT BAD TENANTS'

The owner purchased the Christchurch home as a rental property about 15 years ago and "we've had nothing but bad tenants", he said.

Food scraps, dishes and a pantry full of tinned food was left behind.
SUPPLIED

Food scraps, dishes and a pantry full of tinned food was left behind.

"But this one's the worst."

He had rented the property to a painting contractor who moved a team to Christchurch to work on the rebuild, about seven years ago.

The owner said rent stopped being paid and when he visited the property to find out why, he found a woman living there with her daughter and three grandchildren. The contractor had been illegally subletting the property to the family.

The owner says there is damage to every room of the house.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

The owner says there is damage to every room of the house.

"I looked at the three kids ... we said 'alright, give us the bond and don't pay him any more money, that'd be right and you'll be right'."

Repairing the house would be the second time he had to fully renovate the property after repairing earthquake damage and that left by a previous tenant. He was still weighing up how much he would spend on the latest repair.

"You could run into the f…ing hundreds of thousands. It depends how far we want to go.

"Everything's been damaged. Everything. How good a condition do you want to bring it back up to?"

Holes have been made in walls around the house and the hot water cylinder has been stolen.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

Holes have been made in walls around the house and the hot water cylinder has been stolen.

Part of the living area before owners began the clean-up.
SUPPLIED

Part of the living area before owners began the clean-up.

No attempts were made to clean the house before the tenants left.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

No attempts were made to clean the house before the tenants left.

Trolleys and prams are among the rubbish strewn around the property.
IAIN McGREGOR/STUFF

Trolleys and prams are among the rubbish strewn around the property.

 - Stuff

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