Author: Anuja Nadkarni

Karma Leigh Shortcliffe has been awarded more than $5000 for living in a home so mouldy it was deemed unfit to live in by the Tenancy Tribunal.

The Auckland woman signed a fixed term contract to rent Lachlan Chung's Mount Eden home for just over a year from July 26.

But within a week of moving in she noticed "health effects" on herself and her young child.

An air quality test she commissioned from Biodet Services through Forensic Building Services found "unacceptable/unusual" results for penicillium and aspergillus mould, spore clusters and other spore types.

The Auckland woman left the home within two weeks after noticing health effects on herself and her child.

As soon as she received the test results, Shortcliffe decided the home was not suitable for her or her child and moved out.

Chung claimed he was not aware Shortcliffe had moved out and the keys were not returned until about nine days later.

A tenant can terminate a fixed term tenancy if the home is uninhabitable according to the Residential Tenancies Act.

The tribunal considered three reports provided by Shortcliffe and Chung but settled on the Forensic Building Services report that deemed the two bedrooms were so moist. It recommended that people wear protective gear before entering.

Karma Leigh Shortcliffe has been awarded more than $5000 for living in this Mount Eden home which was so mouldy it was deemed unfit to live in.

The tribunal found the first and third reports did not mention air quality, however, Forensic Building Services said the house was: "Not suitable for human habitation in its current condition."

Moisture in the exterior walls and the subfloor of the house were major concerns, the report said.

Chung claimed there was a concrete pad under the house so insulation could not be added under floor.

But photos by Forensic Building Services showed a clear gap between the timber and the ground. There was no concrete pad.

Tribunal adjudicator Bernadine Hannan found Shortcliffe had no option but to move out of the house.

"To ignore these results would have been fool hardy and I doubt any caring mother of a small child would think differently," Hannan said.

Chung has been ordered to pay Shortcliffe $2858, which includes $1650 in rent paid, $638 for the Biodet Services report, $550 compensation for false insulation statement and $20 filing fee.

The bond centre must return Shortcliffe $2200.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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