A Yamba-based family have admitted their Christmas was swiftly ruined after their landlord set up camp in their backyard.
Nicky and William told A Current Affair what they thought would be a peaceful stay at the rental home with their three kids has quickly soured into a “traumatic” experience for the family, because “nobody can help” them.
Landlord Pascale Hubert and her partner pitched a tent in the backyard of the rental property on Christmas evening, refusing to leave the premises and had even gone as far to film the family while they were inside the home.
“Listen here s— for brains, I’ve given you a warning, move that frigging car now you are in big s—,” the landlord’s husband is heard saying in phone footage obtained by reporters.
“Our children are terrified, they keep asking, “who are they?” and we can’t give them any answers,” Nicky said.
The couple had both lost their jobs to COVID-19 but quickly hope was restored when Nicky landed a job at a hospital in north coast of NSW.
They signed a lease for a rental at $560 a week.
Just two months into their stay, Nicky says she was shocked when she received a text message from her landlord on December 25 telling her she and her partner would be living in the backyard.
“The text message said, ‘Dear Nicky and William, I am the owner’ … there was no names, no introductions, anything like that and it just said, ‘as of tonight I will be occupying the rear yard’,” Nicky said.
The tenants then came home to find that their landlord and her partner had set up camp at the rear of the property.
The section is one title and while it hasn’t been subdivided, a partial existing fence separates Nicky and William’s home from the backyard – which is easily accessible through a side gate.
To make matters worse for the couple, there is no running water or toilet in the backyard.
“I noticed they’ve got a bucket, been doing poos and wees in the bucket. It’s disgusting. I just want to know where they’re emptying it. They’ve got to empty it somewhere, don’t they?” William said.
Jess claimed the landlords’ partner “was very aggressive from the start”.
“I heard an altercation and my husband said, wow it’s the owners. They’ve turned up,” she said.
The partner of the landlord had dragged the trampoline out of the backyard and installed gate reinforcements, while the couple desperately made calls for help.
“It’s completely bizarre to everybody we tell. Police and real estate don’t know what to do. We can’t contact council because of Christmas, but it’s day 11 of them living in the backyard,” Nicky said.
When reporter Steve Marshall asked about the situation, the landlord told him they were “not squatting in the backyard” as the home was “not rented with the backyard.”
The rental lease does confirm that the properties backyard was not included as part of the listing, but Nicky says she was told the “owners don’t live here” and only wanted access to the shed for storage with “adequate notice” being given first.
“Regardless of them being able to access the back shed, they need to give us at least seven days’ notice to come access the property – let alone camp in it,” Nicky said.
“The police are telling us that the real estate should be physically removing these people and the real estate are saying they can’t do that.”
The landlord who usually lives in Sydney said they may be in the backyard to stay.
“At the end of April, we’re not going to take a tenant anymore and we’re just going to start building,” Ms Hubert said.
“It could be that the landlord is trespassing whenever they go across that driveway area because they are entering into a place that they’ve given someone else procession,” Leo Patterson Ross from The Tenants Union of NSW told A Current Affair.
“At the end of the day while the lease says that the backyard isn’t included the landlord has to go down the driveway that the lease doesn’t talk about and what the lease also promises the tenant is reasonable peace, comfort and privacy in their home.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.