Rogue landlords fined for evicting tenant with brain tumour and relisting property
Landlords in New Zealand have been fined after evicting a single mother with a brain tumour – only to relist the property four days later.
Investors Roshan John Mureekal and Anu Abraham gave the tenant notice to leave after saying they planned to renovate the property.
When they failed to do so the eviction became illegal, as you have to give a reason to evict a tenant in the country.
Following a tribunal hearing between the tenant and landlords, Mureekal and Abraham were ordered to pay NZ$5,500 (£2,690) in damages.
The tenant moved into a property in Mosgiel, on the south island of New Zealand, in July 2020 for a one-year fixed term, before renewing the lease for another year with increased rent in July 2021.
After being diagnosed with a brain tumour she agreed with the landlords to switch to periodic rent in July 2022, after being scheduled for surgery that November.
Under the terms of periodic rent she paid a higher weekly rent, but there was no fixed end date.
After she was rocked by the eviction notice the tenant was forced to spend time post-surgery finding a new place to live, rather than being able to recover, the tribunal heard.
She described the move as “very stressful”, causing her sleepless nights that affected her recovery, as her children were settled into a local school.
She would eventually move into a new place in April 2023, five months after having surgery, while she told the tribunal that she has so far failed to fully unpack.
After departing she saw her old rental property listed online for $130 a week more than she paid, leaving her to conclude that she was only evicted so the landlord could increase the rent.