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David Henderson company evicts Gibbston Valley tenant, wins $5300 back-paid rent

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A company controlled by the South Island’s David Henderson has won the right to evict a tenant from a house near Queenstown after she owed it more than $9000 in rent.

The Cardrona Cattle Company, 89 per cent owned by Henderson, went to the Tenancy Tribunal against tenant Belinda Ellen Coleman who lives in a house that the company owns on Victoria Flat Rd, Gibbston Valley near Queenstown.

The company won an order for more than $5000 in rent from Coleman.

Dave “Hendo” Henderson is the Christchurch developer who fought Inland Revenue and won, wrote a book about that and was the central character in the New Zealand Film Commission-funded We’re Here To Help.

In the tribunal decision out this month, Coleman was ordered to pay Henderson’s company $5310 and she was ordered evicted by last Friday, although she remains there.

Henderson told the Herald today she had not left and nor had he received money, so he planned further action.

Coleman had rented the rural house since late 2018. Henderson said it was initially a 10,000-acre farm at the east end of the valley but in 2018 his company bought it and then sold 9000 acres to fellow developer Tim Edney.

The house was on the land Henderson’s company kept when it sold the larger parcel.

Coleman said Edney approached her in 2020 and told her he was her landlord so all rent should go to his farm manager Jess Scott.

Coleman confirmed today she was still living at the property, despite the eviction order last Friday but disputed the rental amount and said she had paid.

“I have got a lawyer and he’s the one doing my paperwork as I’ve paid rent to Jess Scott. Mr Henderson is aware of this as I’ve now seen the police about this as well and I’ve said that I’m doing it the right way,” Coleman told the Herald today.

Coleman told the tribunal she complied with that but the tribunal noted she had not called Edney or Scott to give evidence nor produced statements confirming that.

Henderson produced evidence showing his company was the landlord, not Edney, so his company was due the rent of more than $9000.

Coleman complained about a solar panel system, a generator and the roof, saying the landlord had breached legal obligations.

The diesel generator broke down five times and did not work for six weeks in one breakdown. It was the sole source of power to the house so she had no hot water or lighting and her freezer defrosted.

The solar system didn’t work at any time and its batteries were to run a single light inside the house, she said.

Strong winds in the Gibbston Valley last year meant some roofing iron was peeled back but the landlord had done nothing to fix it.

The tribunal found Henderson should have fixed the problems and Coleman also complained about a lack of insulation or smoke alarms, despite these being mandatory.

Henderson said the house was insulated.

Another dispute was over Henderson’s alleged entry to the premises.

“Mr Henderson accepts that he went to the premises on February 12, 2021 to serve a termination notice on the tenant. Both parties agree that the door to the premises was open,” the decision said.

Coleman said she saw Henderson enter the house. She said that he had “half his body” inside the door. She told him to leave. She tried to close the door, but Henderson blocked the doorway.

“She said that Henderson then put the termination notice on the fridge and left. Henderson said that he was at the door to the premises for 30 seconds or so and that he accepts that he reached inside the doorway to leave the notice,” the decision said.

Henderson told the Herald he had actually put the notice on top of a chest freezer.

The tribunal accepted it was a technical breach of the law but only a fleeting visit.

Henderson claimed the rent was $9060 in arrears although Coleman disputed that.

He emailed Coleman this week saying she was immediately liable to pay The Cardrona Cattle Company $5310 and should leave the house.

“We have received no money from you and you have not approached us to seek any arrangements for the payment of those monies. Further, you have not vacated the property and again have made no further arrangements with us,” Henderson told Coleman.

He planned to have the house secured and the locks changed.

“You will then need to make arrangements with us for the removal of any items in the house you claim as yours,” he told her.

The tribunal said both parties had succeeded to an extent but it ended the tenancy and made the order for the rent to be paid to Henderson’s company.

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