17 Mar 2017

Tenants mull court action over flooded apartments

8:17 pm on 17 March 2017

A group of west Auckland tenants is considering taking their landlord to court after it was revealed he knew his property was flood-prone but did not tell them.

Barfoot and Thompson real estate agent Philip Davis denied he knew his property at 4116 Great North Road in Glen Eden was flood-prone on Monday.

A subsequent Checkpoint investigation found Auckland Council told him the property was a "significant flood risk" before the Wellpark Trust, which he is a director of, bought it in 2012.

Six ground-floor units at the property flooded on Sunday when more than 60mm of rain fell in one hour.

Dhruv Sabharwan, who paid $400 for a two-bedroom unit, said he feels cheated by Mr Davis.

He would not have lived at the property had he known it was flood-prone and was now considering taking him to the Tenancy Tribunal to recoup what he has lost.

"My insurance company said it seems we are substantially under-insured so I don't think everything will be covered," Mr Sabharwan said.

"So it's a total loss - we will probably be using [the insurance money] to buy basic things we need for living: clothes, kitchenware, things like that."

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said he expected landlords to take responsibility if their properties were flood-prone.

"We cannot have a situation where tenants are repeatedly subject to flooding and loss of their property, their cars, their personal possessions; it's not a fair go and we'd have to look at remediating that both by council action and action from the landlord," Mr Goff said.

Auckland civil defence had provided emergency motel accommodation for the six families affected, totalling 15 people, at a cost of $5660 for five nights. They were also given loaded HOP cards, medication, clothing, and free use of storage units.

On Saturday they will be moved to an empty apartment building in Mt Eden owned by Auckland Transport, where they can stay until the end of April. The building was empty as it was due to be demolished for development of the City Rail Link.

Mr Sabharwan said he would be less trusting of landlords in future.

"There are things I didn't look into last time when I moved in and I guess that was because of the trust factor, which has now been broken," Mr Sabharwan said.

Philip Davis has declined repeated requests for an interview.

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