Wellington man evicted from council flat after pulling knife on neighbour Vibesbullet

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The neighbours were residents at Hanson Court in Newtown, Wellington. Photo / Wellington City Council

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A man who pulled a knife on his neighbour, threatening to kill him, has been evicted from his council flat after an aggressive exchange between the tenants became violent.

Aaron Bartlett said he had been trying to sleep after a late night of studying when he claimed his neighbour set off a car alarm to intentionally annoy him.

But the neighbour, referred to only as “A” in a recent tenancy tribunal decision, said he was scared of living in the complex after Bartlett’s over-reaction.

Landlord Wellington City Council successfully applied in the Tenancy Tribunal in August to evict Bartlett because of two alleged attacks on his Spanish-speaking neighbour, the first in June and the second in July this year.

Bartlett had been a resident of the council-run Hanson Court in Newtown since December 2021, living in a unit that overlooked the car park.

A had lived in the complex for four years.

According to evidence given to the tribunal by the landlord, as well as A and his friend, referred to as “B”, A and B were working on A’s van in the apartment car park below Bartlett’s about 2.30pm on June 25.

The van’s battery had run out and the two were using another battery to start the car.

This set off the van’s alarm system, prompting Bartlet to open his window, yelling at the men in a “loud, aggressive and abusive manner” to turn the alarm off.

According to the decision, the men said they would turn it off, but when the alarm still sounded Bartlett continued with his “angry abuse”, throwing a coffee cup and glass jar down onto the van.

Bartlett then came down to the car park with a knife in one hand and a hose with a metal tip in the other, the decision said.

According to the evidence presented to the tribunal, Bartlett used these items to hit the van and move toward As “waving and brandishing the knife in stabbing motions”.

During the scuffle, Bartlett cut A’s finger with the knife and despite a language barrier A believed Bartlett said he was going to kill him.

Bartlett then ran away and police were called, but before they could attend, Bartlett returned with a bag of sand which he threw over the van.

Loud noises could be heard inside the complex after Bartlett retreated back to the building, and A found the lock on his door had been damaged “as if someone had tried to break in”.

“He is certain that the damage was likely caused by Mr Bartlett. He noted that no one else was around at the time,” adjudicator Kaye Stirling wrote in the decision.

The neighbour presented images of the damage to his van and lock, the cut to his finger, and the broken objects at the hearing.

The tribunal heard A was scared afterwards, avoided the building during the day and putting a piece of wood over his door at night to secure it further.

“[He] remains worried and scared to the extent that he does not wish to continue living at the apartment.”

But Bartlett said A was the aggressor, not him, and that A was “provoking him” and laughing at him after he yelled out his window demanding they turn the alarm off.

Bartlett alleged that A had grabbed a hammer and was waving it at him and in retaliation, after coming down to confront the men, grabbed a garden knife and hose in the nearby garden.

Then on July 9, Bartlett was alleged to have punched A multiple times in the apartment stairwell and pushed over his parked motorbike.

Bartlett again said he was the victim in this case, and denied A’s version of events.

Despite this, Bartlett apologised to A, and said he never wanted to hurt or make him feel unsafe.

Stirling said she believed the evidence given at the hearing to be truthful, considering Bartlett’s own admission to “screaming” at the men, throwing items and confronting them.

It was also alleged Bartlett slashed A’s tyres while he was away on a trip in July but this could not be proven.

Stirling noted the “coincidental” timing of the alleged property damage.

She said Bartlett’s reaction to the car alarm was an “unacceptable, out of proportion, hotheaded response”.

“It only takes one threat of assault or one incident of assault to establish grounds for termination,” the decision said.

“I am not satisfied that Mr Bartlett will not behave in the same manner again. Accordingly, I find that there is no reason to refuse to make the termination order,” she said. ,

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