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Mexican couple's Kiwi working holiday dream turns into surveillance nightmare with cameras placed in rental property


A working holiday dream for a Mexican couple has turned into a surveillance nightmare.

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For those who are new to New Zealand it can be even trickier to know what’s legal. Source: 1 NEWS

David, who doesn't want to be identified, paid two weeks rent before flying out to Auckland three weeks ago.

He was paying $340 a week for rent and expenses in a partitioned room in a shared house in a quiet Auckland suburb.

But on arrival, he was shocked to discover cameras in the kitchen and living room and an extensive list of strict rules.

"The head tenant showed us the house and rules and that was not what she said before we paid her rent," he told 1 NEWS.

"They were pretty unfair rules and pretty shady things in the house, including surveillance cameras, which I was not happy about."

While the 26-year-old was showing 1 NEWS around the house, the head tenant turned up and asked us to leave. We did that, but as we were interviewing David on the street, she came back out, along with the property manager.

Neither the head tenant or the property manager would be interviewed, although they did talk for a lengthy period of time to 1 NEWS and David on the street outside the house.

David says she kicked them out with just 48 hours notice, with no legal reasons to do so. She disagreed with that, but the argument turned heated and into a he said-she said.

Tenant advocates say it highlights the issues tenants have, not just when they move to New Zealand, but when they are in vulnerable positions.

And a tenancy lawyer, Scott Nicholas from Community Law, doubts the cameras are legal.

"I'd be surprised if cameras are allowed on a property, it's pretty invasive to do that to protect their property, you could do that in a less invasive way," he says.

He says there's a right to freedom of enjoyment in a property and a landlord should not interfere with that.

David says he was shocked to be told he'd have to pay more if he wanted to use the heater, especially in the middle of a freezing New Zealand winter.

Among the other rules in the house was that laundry could only be done once a week and the oven or stove were not to be used after 9pm or before 8am.

But he says he won't let it ruin his year long working holiday in New Zealand - and has already found a warmer house to live in, with cheaper rent and fewer rules.