New Fence Causes Heartache

It just goes to show that when it comes to your fencing, a little planning goes a long way!

A couple has arrived at their new rental home to find a fence built around the front of the property blocking off vehicle access to their garage.

New Zealand couple Beck Cole and Deo Bohn got quite the surprise when they arrived at their new Queenstown home earlier this year, to find a ‘bizarre’ wooden fence that hadn’t been there when they inspected the property.

When the couple signed the lease to rent the Shotover Country home, they were given no indication that the garage would not be vehicle friendly.

Shotover Country residents Deo Bohn and Beck Cole were ''disappointed'' a fence was erected in front of the access way to their garage.Shotover Country residents Deo Bohn and Beck Cole were ”disappointed” a fence was erected in front of the access way to their garage. Photo: Rhys Chamberlain

The couple said they were then stumped to find the fence when they moved in, and had hoped for some form of compensation on their rent.

Landlord Sean McCarroll, who built a wooden fence has explained why – and lowered his tenants’ rent.

He said his tenants are “happy as” after a phone call to them on Monday afternoon. He noted the garage would become a fifth bedroom and said he is now waiting for the builders to complete the conversion for the couple’s use.

The garage is not going to be able to be used, so will be converted into an extra bedroom, the landlord said.The garage is not going to be able to be used, so will be converted into an extra bedroom, the landlord said. Photo: Rhys Chamberlain

“They thought they could use it and then a week later I said the garage is not going to be able to be used,” he said.

McCarroll found issues with the driveway being too steep after a light pole prevented the garage door from being put in its intended spot. He informed Cole and Bohn it would be turned into a fifth bedroom. “They agreed,” he said.

The couple loved the house and were happy to have somewhere to rent in Queenstown, McCarroll said.

The family will now pay less rent because they cannot park in the garage.The family will now pay less rent because they cannot park in the garage. Photo: Rhys Chamberlain.

“As long as they are happy and comfortable, that’s the main thing.”

A bit bizarre’

Bohn and Cole moved into the Risinghurst Tce, Shotover Country, house on June 28 and said they were surprised  at the wooden fence.

Cole said they thought “the driveway was pretty steep” when they rented it.

“We were told a few weeks later that it would no longer be able to be used as a garage. Then he [the landlord] decided to put the fence up which was a bit bizarre.

“He said he was going to put it up as a bit of privacy but the fence is serving absolutely no purpose. I hoped we would get some compensation.”

The couple, who own music store Maya Music, have four older children, three of whom were hoping to use the garage to house their motorbikes.

Cole even bought a new car when they moved to Queenstown from Invercargill and it now had to sit outside.

Despite this, the pair thought the landlord was “lovely” and said it was probably not his fault.

“I”m sure he’s not super happy about it either.”

Driveway ‘too steep’

The contractor who built the fence, who preferred not to be named, said the garage door was supposed to be on the end of the home with access off an adjoining road but a light post prevented it being put there.

“We went in to do the driveway and that [but] the driveway was too steep.”

The owner decided he would turn the garage into a self-contained unit and asked for the fence to be built the way it is, the contractor said.

He felt the tenants, Bohn and Cole, knew the fence was going to be there and that they would not have access to the garage “from the start”.

But Bohn said they did not know they wouldn’t be able to use the garage until after they moved in.

“We asked him [the landlord] to put a fence on but we didn’t know it was going to be in front of the garage,” he said. “After we got in he said we weren’t going to have the garage.”

Queenstown lawyer Graeme Todd said the owner of the property could put a fence wherever he wanted and there was “no issue about that” but there may be issues between owner and tenant if it was marketed as a home with a double garage.

It implied the garage was still usable for vehicles, Todd said.

Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman Jimmy Sygrove confirmed they had been in touch with the property owner around consenting issues.

Sygrove could not elaborate.

A Tenancy Services spokeswoman said the first thing Cole and Bohn needed to do was take the issue up with the landlord.

If the two parties could not agree on lower rent and Cole and Bohn felt the premises was misrepresented to them prior to entering into the agreement, they could apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to determine the appropriate amount of compensation or possibly cancel the agreement.

Letting agent Ray White Queenstown was contacted.

This story was originally published on Stuff.