A 40-year-old solo mother has returned to prostitution to offset an “unaffordable” rent rise.
The domestic purposes beneficiary, who wanted to be known only as Sarah, was not proud of her lifestyle but wanted the public to know “people have had to go to extreme lengths to survive” Christchurch’s rental housing drought.
Sarah has had an $80 rent increase over the past year and said it was “beyond affordability”. …
Sarah, who has been house hunting for the past six months, said the Government needed to intervene.
One rental she viewed had no hot water and the landlord told her she could shower her children at Jellie Park, while other open homes had left her disheartened when people started offering more money than that advertised.
“Landlords are taking advantage of the situation and are increasing the rent just for the sake of it,” she said.
Sarah receives $660 on the domestic purposes benefit each week, and in September her rent will increase to $440.
The rise will leave her with $220 a week to pay for power, basic bills and food.
A rent freeze is a very bad idea. Christchurch needs more residential properties, and a rent freeze would deter investment in new properties. But turning specifically to this case highlighted, a search on Trade Me found 89 properties for rent in Christchurch for $350 a week or less – and all 3 bedrooms or more.
The distribution of Christchurch 3 bedroom+ rental properties in Christchurch is:
- Up to $250/w – 7
- Up to $300/w – 26
- Up to $350/w – 89
- Up to $400/w – 209
If one extends this to 2 bedroom+ properties (noting both kids are at primary school), you get:
- Up to $250/w – 33
- Up to $300/w – 113
- Up to $350/w – 234
- Up to $400/w – 389
So let’s be very clear on this. Her current rent is $360 a week – and there are 89 properties listed (just at this point in time) which have three or more bedrooms and are cheaper than $360 a week. And if you include two bedroom properties, then there are 234 properties listed.
Wouldn’t this be a pertinent fact in reporting the story.