Queenstown’s full-house friction


A stoush between a Queenstown landlord and a tenant has revealed the drama of life in a mass-occupancy boarding house.

Scores of people in the resort live in boarding houses occupied by more than 20 people - often at least two to a room.

That has caused huge friction with reports of 30 complaints before the rental market watchdog this winter season.

One Tenancy Tribunal ruling, concerning Aucklander Stephen Ginn and his landlord The Chernishov Trust, sheds light on problems for both sides.

Ginn was evicted from the Frankton house he shared with 24 others in October last year.

He complained the eviction was unlawful and made a barrage of claims for compensation against the landlord, Gurian Chernishov - including that he cleaned the fridge with a floor mop and changed the locks without providing him with a new key.

Chernishov died before the case was heard by the tribunal, and his wife Robyn-Jane gave evidence in his place.

Tribunal adjudicator Maxine Knowler dismissed all but one of the claims.

Knowler says: “On a full and careful consideration of the evidence, I am left with the overriding view that the tenant was not suited to boarding house life and displayed little ability to compromise.”

Ginn was evicted after he went to the landlord’s nearby home to complain that another tenant, referred to only as ‘Jimmy’, was having a drunken argument in the kitchen.

When nothing was done, he called the police.

The landlord claimed other tenants were “fed up” with Ginn’s activities - which apparently included throwing out Bibles and defacing a non-smoking sign.

Knowler says Chernishov claimed other tenants were “fed up” with Ginn’s activities within the house, which had been “peaceful before he arrived”.

“Having carefully considered all of the evidence I accept that the tenant was causing serious disruption to the other tenants and that the landlord was justified [in] terminating the tenancy.”

Knowler says the mop had an interchangeable head and the landlord stopped using the stem when asked.

Ginn was also “difficult and somewhat belligerent” over the locks issue, Knowler says.

It was found, however, that the bond had not been lodged due to a paperwork oversight, and Ginn was awarded $100 for that.