State Housing Action Network (SHAN) has called for an independent assessment of meth-testing compensation claims brought by Housing New Zealand (HNZ) tenants.
Earlier this year, flawed meth testing methods led to a number of evictions from HNZ homes after tenants were ruled responsible, though the level of evidence presented was criticised as being “sparse and vague.” The Tenancy Tribunal has a set window of 10 working days for tenants to lodge an appeal, so none of the cases can now be legally opposed.
SHAN has written to Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford, asking the government to appoint an independent assessor to evaluate claims for compensation as a result of the ‘fiasco,’ saying that HNZ “cannot be trusted to treat residents fairly, reasonably and respectfully.”
“At a corporate level, HNZ lacks even the bare basics of compassion in their treatment of tenants,” the network stated. “They must be required to stand aside from this compensation process. HNZ has breached the Residential Tenancies Act, its own tenancy agreements, and has tailed in its common law duty of care to its tenants.”
According to SHAN, evicted tenants may still be able to claim compensation for any illegal disposal of their possessions, repayment of money paid for meth testing, repayment of rent and damages for stress, hurt and humiliation. The network also wants tenants to be placed on the HNZ/WINZ priority list for a state house in a mutually agreed area, and compensation of any legal expenses incurred.
“We have told Phil Twyford that the government must ensure HNZ tenants are treated as generously as farmers who were recently allocated $500 million in compensation for the mycoplasma bovis outbreak, and the wealthy investors at South Canterbury Finance who were compensated for $1.7 billion by National in 2010,” the network said.
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