Tenant evicted after assault over free food

A tenant at a social housing complex in Christchurch has been evicted from his tenancy after he assaulted neighbors who resented him for taking more of the free food being handed out.

Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust recently turned to tenancy court in a bid to terminate the man’s tenancy due to the assaults.

The court heard the man, who cannot be named, lived at the Hillsborough complex in Christchurch.

Two of his victims, who also lived at the compound, told the court that the man assaulted each of them on different occasions.

The most recently targeted tenant produced photos of his facial injuries. He told the court that he reported the violent encounter to the police.

The tenant first assaulted by the man described how he suffered a bleeding nose and a laceration in his ear.

Both assaults occurred on occasions when free food was handed out to resort tenants, the court heard.

The man was taking more than his share and reacted violently when the tenants he assaulted told him not to.

Prior to the assaults, the landlord had served the man in December 2021 with two notices of violation for intimidating his neighbors and damaging their front doors.

“The tenant has established a pattern of behavior,” the court said in its recently released decision.

The ruling noted that the Residential Tenancies Act requires the court to terminate a tenancy if a tenant has assaulted or threatened to assault a defined number of people, including any neighbors of the premises.

Although the court has limited discretion not to terminate the tenancy in such situations, in this case it deemed it appropriate to evict him.

He said the assaults described by the victims were serious and resulted in physical injuries.

“Photos tendered into evidence following the most recent assault show injuries to the assaulted tenant’s face, including near his eye, on his forehead and on his nose.”

The tenancy was terminated with immediate effect so the landlord could enforce the order quickly if necessary, although the trust told the court it would work with the tenant if he needed more time to vacate.

– Tara Shaskey, reporter for Open Justice

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