Bed bugs in Auckland apartment bite $3k from landlord's pocket

11:48 am on 17 July 2019

A pilot has been awarded $3000 in compensation after being quarantined in his bed bug-infested rental apartment in Auckland.

Bed bugs are now believed to have evolved 100 million years ago.

The Tenancy Tribunal found that the apartment was infested with bed bugs (file photo). Photo: 123RF/

Jake Blatchford was badly bitten by the bugs immediately after moving into the landlord-furnished property in the city centre.

He did not know the cause of the bites initially, and was told by a doctor that the marks on his skin could be chicken pox.

As a newly-employed international pilot, Mr Blatchford was required to be quarantined and could not board a plane to undertake a training course in Australia.

The landlord's agent, Ms Ho of James Law Realty Ltd, queried whether the bed bugs could have been introduced into the apartment by Mr Blatchford.

However, the Tenancy Tribunal has found the apartment was infested with bed bugs.

"There was no evidence before the Tribunal that established that the bed bug problem was caused by anything Mr Blatchford did or did not do," a statement of the tribunal said.

"It seems more probable than not, on the available evidence, that the apartment was infested with bed bugs prior to the start of his tenancy."

The tribunal has ordered the landlords, Matthew Ka Wah Lo and Nyuk Fung Kiw, to pay Mr Blatchford $1185 for the clothing, luggage and other personal property he had to throw away.

The landlord has also been ordered to pay the sum of $2000 for Mr Blatchford's loss of amenity.