Propertyscouts Hawkes Bay

Property scouts wouldn't have ever let this fraudster in your door! - 4th Jan 2016

A serial rent dodger who owes up to $40,000 to landlords has been evicted from her latest Christchurch rental.

Anna-Ria Melroy, 28 — also known as Ann Marie Smith and Anne Marie Fraser Smith— has been targeting mostly private land lords in Christchurch since 2011. She owes up to $40,000 in unpaid rent and bond money to multiple landlords, including Housing New Zealand.

Her most recent victims, Sam Russell, and Jade Leung, said they would rather their Richmond rental property had sat empty than have gone through the nightmare Melroy had caused.

They were told a sob-story — which they now know to be fabricated — of how Melroy's home had been demolished, her then landlord had given her no time to get out, she was caring for foster children and was looking after her terminally ill 78-year-old grandfather. On her tenancy application form, she claimed she worked for IRD and gave a fake reference for a previous landlord.

"She came across as being the sort of person who had had a hard life, dealt a few bad cards, and was trying to make good of it," Leung said.

Melroy moved in to their property in November, with the promise of a bond transfer from her previous address.

She paid just 81 cents of the $1200 rent owing, in her third week in the flat.

"You feel really stupid looking back on it now, but the stupid thing would be to let it carry on. We've got to be the last," Russell said.

Russell and Leung took Melroy to the tenancy tribunal last week after Melroy had clocked up over $2000 in rent arrears.

Melroy failed to appear at the hearing.

The case was a real "wake-up call" for private landlords, who might be desperate to fill their properties.

"Ma and Pa" investors, who might not know the law as well, were particularly vulnerable to people like Melroy.

This illustrates exactly why professional and thorough vetting of prospective tenants is essential in your property management.

Propertyscouts Hawkes Bay utilise extremely thorough vetting procedures to ensure that your investment is protected and you don't end of up the same situation as these landlords.

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