JOHN BISSET / Stuff
A woman from Timaru says her former property manager has not paid court-ordered compensation since 2019. (File photo)
A woman from Timaru says she has given up hope of receiving compensation awarded to her by the Tenants Tribunal, saying she is surprised the Tribunal cannot enforce its decisions.
Tenant Jess Foster took her property manager, Amanda Gray, to Tenancy Court in November 2019 for failing to post her bond and failing to adequately insulate the house she lived in with her two young children, and received compensation of $ 3,100.
Foster said that over 18 months later, she is still waiting for most of the money to be paid to her.
“They decide she has to pay me this money, but the tenancy court has no way of enforcing her paying me it,” she said.
* Timaru’s owner says she was reimbursed by property manager
* Tenants and landlords want the property manager to reimburse the money
* Timaru’s property manager ordered to pay after failing to post bond, meet insulation requirements
Foster said she knew when she moved into the property in January 2018 that the insulation had not been installed and immediately followed up with Gray to get the job done.
Foster said the house was “freezing cold”.
“My electric bill was over $ 600 a month trying to keep only the living room warm so the kids could be warm.”
Foster said when she called the Bond Center to check if her bond had been posted, she was told no bond had been posted for the property she had rented since 2013.
Tenancy Tribunal arbitrator J Greene ruled that Gray had committed two “unlawful acts” and ordered Foster to be compensated.
Foster said six weeks after the decision she was paid $ 600 by Gray. Foster said Gray refused to pay the remaining $ 2,500, saying it was the owner’s responsibility to pay.
When Foster returned to the tenancy court and said she had not been paid, she said she was told she had to go to the district court for a civil execution and pay costs from $ 200 to $ 250, and “even then there was no guarantee that I would get my money back in the end.”
“I just thought I was never going to get my money back and I just left it.”
Brett Dooley, group director for the Department of Justice, confirmed that while the Tenancy Tribunal “can make a monetary order requiring one person to pay another, it does not have the power to enforce them.”
“This is because a money order relating to a private dispute is a civil debt and there is no provision in the law allowing a court or tribunal to proactively enforce a civil debt in the name of a creditor. “
“We understand that waiting for civil debt to be paid can be stressful.”
Tenant Protection Association director Penny Arthur said all courts are dependent on enforcement enforcement.
“Unless you know that’s what the process is, you quite naturally think going back to where you got the order is where you would go,” she said.
“There’s also that feeling of ‘now I have the order, it’s all done’, but if you get someone who doesn’t do anything to pay it all of a sudden, it’s been a few years and the person always wondering why she has they don’t have their money.
“The most important thing is that people seek advice on this before giving up. There are ways to get there, but often that little help will need people.
“We are definitely there for tenants to contact us and discuss their options and what they want to do.”
Arthur said that while there is an upfront cost for civil enforcement, it can be added to what is collected, and if the cost is a barrier to enforcing an order, support funds are available. available to help.
Gray was contacted for comment but did not respond.