Bad neighbours

PHOTO: Kāinga Ora said in February it was cracking down on tenants terrorising neighbours after years of no evictions. Getty Images

A young Bay of Plenty family fears they’ll never be able to escape their neighbours from hell after prospective buyers were put off by their antisocial behaviour.

Fergs Coffee

They are speaking out about the distress caused by the neighbour’s behaviour over the past couple of years and are calling for the state landlord to take action.

The family has twice been burgled and believe the culprit to be one of the Kāinga Ora tenants next door. The family says the neighbours have also been responsible for aggression, loud parties and used tampons and undies being thrown onto their property.

Newshub has agreed not to name the family nor the suburb they live in due to fears over their safety.

‘Every time we come home, we’re anxious’

Shortly after New Zealand’s first COVID-19 lockdown lifted in 2020, the man says his wife returned home to find their house had been broken into. Items including a UE Boom speaker, beauty products, bath towels and other electronics were taken.

His suspicions were raised about the neighbour’s involvement a week later, when he saw the same towels hanging on his neighbours’ washing line.

After filing a police report on the first burglary, the man’s house was broken into a second time. This time it was his wife’s jewellery and hard drive, which had 15 years’ worth of photos on it.

Again his neighbour gave him cause for suspicion.

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“We noticed that there was a footprint on the fence that we share because they’d marked our newly painted fence.”

The second burglary left the man searching for answers.

“I went over to the fence and I tried to connect to my UE Boom and I heard… the [connecting] noise and it was just on their property,” he said.

“We called the police and let them know as well, and so the police went in probably after about a week.”

A few of the stolen items were recovered but, sadly, some of the more sentimental things were nowhere to be seen. At the time of the second burglary, his wife was nine months’ pregnant.

“When we were going to the hospital, when she went into labour, we were really anxious as to when we got back – would we actually have any stuff in the house?”

But the burglaries were only the tip of the iceberg. Despite the burglar being prosecuted and the break-ins stopping, rubbish is still being thrown over their fence – including tampons and underwear.

He said the tenants also host loud parties until the early hours.

“When you’ve got a six-month-old trying to sleep, it’s not really ideal.

“I’ve had multiple chats [with Kāinga Ora]. I was complaining quite a bit… I kept trying to push them on it but really got nowhere with it.”

The family feels at risk.

“They can be quite aggressive,” he said of the neighbours. “They were hanging a bunch of stuff over our fence. [My wife] went over there and asked, ‘do you guys mind not hanging stuff over our fence?’

“The boy yelled at her, starting swearing at her calling her a ‘f**king white n****r’… so he’s been really hostile. Every time we come home, we’re anxious.”

Fed up, the man put his house up for sale about two months ago – but fears he may not be able to sell the home.

“The first weekend there was an open home, a girl came and she was really keen on the house. She came back with her partner and then the neighbours were pumping their music with all their rubbish out the front… and they were like, ‘no way, we’re not buying here.’

“Then there were two other [prospective buyers], where the same sort of thing happened.”

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