Studio or ‘cabin’? Anyway, it was advertised for $355 per week

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A small granny flat in central Wellington advertised for $355 a week highlights the ongoing rental crisis around the capital, according to Renters United.

“This is a case where very little is provided for a significant amount of money,” said Wellington Renters United chairman Geordie Rogers.

“When you think about how many hours you would have to work in a minimum wage job to pay for that housing, you don’t think there’s much left over for other expenses.”

But the property manager said the plight of landlords should be considered as tenants left town to travel overseas, and they faced higher tax burdens and insurance costs. students.

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Chris McKeen / Stuff

Propertyscouts director Ryan Weir talks to Stuff about the rental market.

The images of the Mount Victoria property do not show the features required by the Healthy Homes standard, including a stationary heat source.

The director, who declined to be named, said the photos were old and improvements had been made since they were taken.

“We insulated the house, then turned on the heating, then installed a fan for the bathroom and a fan for the kitchen,” he said.

“Everything follows the Healthy Homes Act.”

The property manager said there were apartments in the city that were smaller and more expensive, and had no outdoor space.

“You should say more about hotels converted into studios,” he said.

He said the number of empty rentals on Trade Me continues to rise as residents move out of town, and with the added costs of providing a rental, many landlords may struggle to pay their mortgages. .

“A lot of owners are suffering.

“I think these things are more important than other things, and then the government pushes the owner to install the heat pump, the insulation things, it costs a few thousand.”

Renters Uniter lawyer Geordie Rogers says many renters stay in rentals that don't meet Healthy Homes standards because they know there's nothing better available.

ROSA WOODS / Stuff

Renters Uniter lawyer Geordie Rogers says many renters stay in rentals that don’t meet Healthy Homes standards because they know there’s nothing better available.

The manager said the ad was pulled from Trade Me on Wednesday afternoon because the apartment had been rented two weeks prior for $355.

However, Trade Me’s head of policy and compliance, James Ryan, said the site’s trust and safety team removed the listing.

“We err on the side of caution and if we have concerns about on-site registration we will take action,” he said.

With 9 million listings on the site currently, Ryan said not everything can be verified.

“All Trade Me members must comply with New Zealand law, including the Residential Tenancies Act, Home Improvement Regulations and the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act, which are reminded when listing a property for rent on our site.”

He said it was important that when members list rentals, they provide a detailed description of the property.

The property's kitchen and laundry room.

Provided

The property’s kitchen and laundry room.

The property manager said the advert was placed by a former tenant who was currently traveling in Europe and his phone number was listed as a point of contact.

Rogers said whether the property could be classified as a studio or if it was “more of a cabin,” was unclear.

He said it was quite common for grandma’s apartments to have thin walls.

“It’s hard to say, even though the property is insulated to standard, how much it will actually keep you warm during those winter months.”

Rogers said there remained a lack of regulation on what could and could not be rented.

A picture of the bathroom and closet in Grandma's apartment.

Provided

A picture of the bathroom and closet in Grandma’s apartment.

“I think it shows that landlords continue to rent whatever they can to get as much money as possible, and that’s been a situation for a long time.”

Rent drops are less felt at the cheaper end

Despite the downward trend in rental prices, Rogers said prices are falling faster at the top end of the market, with rents for more affordable properties falling more slowly.

“People at the bottom of the market are still struggling.”

Rogers said Renters United continued to advocate for a suitability rental mandate because the government investigation team was unable to police the sector.

The entrance gate to the property at Mt Victoria

Provided

The entrance gate to the property at Mt Victoria

He said some of the Healthy Homes Standard regulations are complex, making it difficult for tenants to know if their tenancy is compliant.

The Healthy Homes standards introduce minimum standards for heating, insulation, ventilation, drainage and draft control in rental properties.

All private rentals must be compliant within 90 days of any new or renewed rentals after July 1 of last year, with all private rentals compliant by July 1, 2024.

Ceiling and floor insulation has been mandatory in all rental homes since July 1, 2019, with newer ones requiring higher quality insulation.

Homeowners should also provide one or more stationary heaters of the appropriate size and type that can directly heat the main living area.


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