Mutiple offending landlord ordered to pay over $16,000 including exemplary damages for unlawfully renting an unconsented, converted garage as a separate housing unit

Statement issued by MBIE*

The Tenancy Tribunal at Manukau has ordered Manurewa landlord Satya Silan to refund $15,840 in rent and pay $750 in exemplary damages for renting an unconsented, converted garage as a separate household unit. 

The application was brought to the Tenancy Tribunal by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team.

“Allowing a family to live in an unlawfully converted garage is unacceptable as it poses a serious health and safety risk,” says Steve Watson, Manager of the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team.

Mr Silan came to the attention of the Tenancy Compliance and Investigations Team following an article published in the media last year, which reported that Mr Silan’s tenants, a family with a very young child, were required to leave their rental property without another place to live. 

“Our investigations found that the Auckland Council had issued Mr Silan notices to cease using the premises as a third household unit and to remove unconsented building works, reverting the building back to a standalone garage. Mr Silan continued to rent the garage before this work was completed,” Mr Watson says.

“We also found that this was not the first time Mr Silan had rented the converted garage to a tenant.”

The money awarded to the Ministry by the Tenancy Tribunal will be paid, without deduction, to the tenants on recovery from the landlord.

“The Tribunal decision should serve as a serious warning to landlords that they are running a business, and it is their obligation to get it right, providing a warm, dry and safe home for their tenants,” Mr Watson says.

“There are significant consequences for landlords who fail to meet their obligations, and we will not hesitate to crack down on poor landlord behavior.”


The original statement is here. Nick Smith's reaction is here.

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4 Comments

The Law should be like the Sustained loss of traction motor offence, renamed - Sustained loss of morality. You dont get your house crushed, but it gets impounded.
Get Crusher Collins on the job.

This is wrong. A willing tenant got a cheaper deal from a willing landlord.
Ask the families living in cars if they would prefer a converted garage?
Ask the paraplegic lady, her partner and baby if they would have preferred to stay in a converted garage for the year that they lived in a van while they waited for a housing NZ house.
Its all very well to punish the landlord but he provided a service that for someone was an opportunity. The landlord isn't the problem, he was providing a solution. That is called a win win!
The problem is our inflated population growth, too many immigrants, more people than available housing. The government should be paying that fine, not the landlord.

On one hand we have the moral/ legal argument that we should hit drug dealers and not the drug user.
Now you propose the opposite moral argument.. leave the drug deals alone because its the drug users providing the market.

Also its very easy to lay the 'homeless' situation solely at the feet of immigration etc... but there is another strong influence on homeless numbers since in resent yrs housing corp and landlords have been banning/ black listing tenants that dont respect their own rental home and trash it... and never learn the lesson.

While I can agree with if the choice is a garage and a car, but that should not even be a choice in NZ, it should be a unit or apartment in a area I don't fancy and can just afford.
I also agree the reason of the problem is demand. too many people but the two major parties seem unwilling to turn that tap down.
what gets me is he only came to the attention of the authorities because of a TV news report, so as long as you don't make the news you can get away with renting out a dog kennel