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Auckland tenants ordered to pay $2k after illicit swimming pool turns backyard into a 'bog'

An Auckland couple have been ordered to pay their landlord nearly $2,000 after damage from a massive swimming pool they didn’t have permission to install caused the entire backyard of the property to look “like a bog”.

The pool erected at the rear of the Vialou Lane property held 30,000 litres of water. Source: GeoMaps

Hamish and Rachel MacDonald appeared before the Tenancy Tribunal along with Brenda Higgins and her husband, who acted for the landlord of the Mount Wellington property.

The MacDonalds moved into the Vialou Lane address in February 2017 and moved out in May this year.

The pair erected the eight by four metre vinyl pool shortly after moving in. Mrs Higgins said the pool, which held 30,000 litres of water “took up the whole backyard”.

At the hearing, she said in evidence that she was “shocked” when she first saw the swimming pool on the lawn and emphasised she had not permitted it to be on the premises. However in response to questions, upon finding that the pool was there, did not request the tenants move it.

When the MacDonalds moved out in May this year, Mr Higgins said there was a significant amount of water and the backyard “was a bog”.

Remedial work needed to be done and the whole backyard had to be dug up.

Mr MacDonald said after the pool was dismantled, efforts were made to re-soil the area and re-sow the grass which he said left the lawn in a good “if not better condition” than when they moved in.

But Mr Higgins said the tenants had tried a “cheap fix” on the lawn.

A landscaper also submitted evidence after inspecting the lawn, saying the weight of the pool sitting on the lawn over a two year period would have undoubtedly caused damage.

The Tribunal adjudicator acknowledged that the tenants had made some attempt to re-instate the lawn but found them liable for the total costs of the remedial work.

The MacDonalds were subsequently ordered to pay an immediate amount of $1,975 from their $4,400 bond to Higgins Investment Trust following the outcome.