Standoff over seven-day eviction notice for disabled man at Kāinga Ora house nears two months

A disabled Hawke’s Bay man is facing a tense wait for a second Tenancy Tribunal hearing to determine whether he can stay in his Kāinga Ora home in Napier.

The near two-month standoff on Napier Hill began when Bronwyn Edwards’ son, who is a grand mal epileptic, was served a seven-day eviction notice in early March due to a slip near the property in November’s flood.

Edwards fought the decision made by homeowner Kāinga Ora, and enacted by property manager Whatever It Takes.

She is refusing to let her son leave the house and be placed in motel accommodation.

A Tenancy Tribunal hearing earlier in April, enacted by Edwards’ complaint about the eviction notice, was adjourned and Edwards’ 39-year-old son has stayed on in the house.

A second hearing has now been scheduled for May 6.

Kāinga Ora and Whatever It Takes declined to comment for this article while the case was before the tribunal.

WIT said previously it was just acting on Kāinga Ora’s wishes by evicting the tenant.

Kāinga Ora, which carried out a geotechnical report on the property earlier this year, said previously it was acting as a “responsible landlord” by vacating the property until it could be certain the property is structurally sound.

Edwards said the deluge in the November flood brought a slip down close to a neighbouring property, with shrubbery and dirt falling on to the garden of the property.

Edwards said they had vacated the property after the flood, finding temporary accommodation, and moved back in when a Napier City Council building inspector deemed the property safe on December 4.

The first Tenancy Tribunal hearing was adjourned in part to allow the tribunal to take into consideration the results of a new geotechnical report done on the property on April 1.

Edwards said she told the tribunal at the first hearing she believes the house is safe.

“If I thought there was any issue with safety I wouldn’t have him in that house for a minute, let alone a month or three.”

Edwards says the decision hangs in the balance, and she is concerned where her son may end up, desperately not wanting him to be put into motel-like accommodation.

“Problems are festering in those places.”

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