A south Auckland tenant has been awarded $30,000 from the tenancy tribunal after his family spent three years living in a sleepout with no insulation or sufficient ventilation.

Sukhmander Singh Brar and his family had rented the property on Takanini School Rd from PFSL Rentals Ltd.

Brar told the Tenancy Tribunal he wanted a full refund of rent because the property he was living in had been “unlawful”.

Tribunal adjudicator Jack Tam agreed the property was unlawful because it had only been consented as a “games room” or additional sleepout.

It also opened out directly to a hazardous in-ground swimming pool which was not maintained and derelict.

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Auckland Council confirmed that due to thoroughfare issues, the pool was unsafe and failed mandatory swimming pool fencing inspections.

Council inspectors noted the pool area was used to access the sleepout by tenants and was the only way to get into the unit.

There was also insufficient ventilation to the unit which became more apparent when Brar’s wife was cooking inside the unit.

Brar said there were only two windows inside the living room area and both would have to be opened every time someone was cooking.

“Due to the landlord’s failure to comply with requirements in respect of buildings, health, and safety, and the nature of the dwelling, it is clear to me that the unit should not have been let out to anyone,” Tam said.

“The only redeeming feature is that Mr Brar and his family had a roof over their head in the unit for three years when they paid a modest sum of $210.00 rent per week from 18 November 2017 to 7 February 2020 and $220.00 rent per week from 8 February 2020 to 20 September 2020.”

The tribunal ordered PFSL Rentals Ltd to pay $30,000 to Brar immediately.

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