PHOTO:  New Zealand landlord Ravi Jha rented out an illegal one-bedroom dwelling. FILE

Joahnna moved in because the property was close to work. By the time she moved out she ‘lost weeks of sleep and undue stress’.

Fergs Coffee

A landlord has been ordered to pay his tenant thousands of dollars after he verbally abused and harassed her, calling the woman “pyscho”, “ugly” and “depressed”.

New Zealand landlord Ravi Jha rented out the illegal one-bedroom dwelling to Joahnna Esguerra, who lived at the property in Auckland for four years.

However, the pair’s relationship deteriorated quickly and Esguerra claimed Jha began harassing her.


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It started with the landlord attempting to increase rent without proper notice through bullying and verbal attacks and spiralled to the point where Esguerra said she was unable to sleep due to stress, according to the Tenancy Tribunal.

Esguerra said Jha would regularly harass her via email and text through “verbal abuse” and “intimidation”.

One year into her lease, Esguerra reported feeling “under a lot of stress, unable to sleep” and feeling unsafe at her home due to the landlord.

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She says she stuck it out at the property as it was located close to her work and the tight Auckland rental market made it difficult to find an alternative.

The situation escalated to the point that, at one stage last year, Jha came to the home where they argued about painting the ceiling, before Esguerra asked him to leave. Instead, he stuck his foot in the door’s gap so she could not close it.

She reported the incident to police.

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In the days following, Jha sent her abusive emails calling her “psycho” and ”ugly and depressed” and said she “needed to see a doctor”. Esguerra reported the messages to police.

She said she felt “dehumanised” and “threatened” and suffered low self-esteem due to her landlord.

“She lost weeks of sleep and undue stress over this. She stated she was ‘often left defenceless because of her non-confrontational personality’,” the tribunal order said.

Jha said it was a “made up story” and claimed the abuse was reciprocated. However, the tribunal deemed he was in the wrong and had broken the law by harassing her and unlawfully entering the home.

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“Tenants should be able to feel secure and safe in their property and it is in the public interest that tenants are not harassed by their landlords,” it said.

Esguerra was awarded $1200 in damages for the harassment and unlawful entry.

The tribunal also determined the address was an unlawful residential premise intended to be an office not a dwelling and awarded Esguerra a rent reduction of $A20 for the four years she lived there, totalling $A4365 ($4794 NZD).

For her part, Esguerra was ordered to pay about $A440 to Jha for rent arrears, cleaning and minor repairs.