17 houses available under stated rent limit for person in tent

December 10th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Nellie Hunt and her children spent last night sleeping in a tent in a public park, while another 39 Cantabrians are living in similar or worse conditions.

Hunt is deemed priority A on the Housing New Zealand (HNZ) waiting list, but The Press understands 39 other people stand before her in the queue for social housing.

Her plight was revealed in The Press yesterday and offers of help have flooded in.

The 35-year-old and her three children, aged 16, 11 and 9, were evicted from their rental property and shifted into the tent in Waltham Park yesterday.

Three social agencies could not find the family a home after they were served a 90-day eviction notice in September.

Wouldn’t a balanced story include why she was evicted? The video says it is because the landlord is selling the house, but that doesn’t require you to evict tenants. In fact having tenants generally makes a sale easier.

Hunt turned down offers to move into other people’s homes because she was afraid it would forfeit her “urgent” position in the HNZ queue and one of the only chances she has of getting her children a suitable home.

So it is a deliberate choice to move into a tent.

On an average week she will receive about $760, which includes her wages and Working For Families and accommodation supplement entitlements.

Hunt is hoping to find a three or four-bedroom home in Waltham or surrounding suburbs, and said she could pay a maximum of $400 rent per week.

A lot of families have three kids and don’t have four bedroom houses.

The figure of $760 a week sounds light.  Let’s say she is on $14 an hour full-time. That is $560 gross a week. Tax reduces that to $481 a week. WFF for three kids is $290 a week and the accom supplement for that income and $400 rent in Christchurch is $106 a week which is income of $877 a week or the gross equivalent of $55,000.

Finally I’ve gone to Trade Me and done a search on rental properties in Waltham or nearby suburbs for under $400 a week for three to four bedrooms. There are 17 of them.  That would be relevant information to include in the story, and maybe ask why one of those were not rented. They’re all currently available.

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53 Responses to “17 houses available under stated rent limit for person in tent”

  1. louie (95 comments) says:

    The story yesterday said she was on minimum wage. On the other side there is also some, erratic, income from the fathers of the children.

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  2. redqueen (553 comments) says:

    The story here is about the victim and the evils of government. Any more details or analysis could get in the way of a good story! You’ve got to think like a modern editor.

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  3. labrator (1,844 comments) says:

    90 day evictions, from memory, can also be when the owner is moving back into their house. It’s a bit disingenuous to call it an ‘eviction’ but it’s not inaccurate.

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  4. Fentex (922 comments) says:

    I’ve gone to Trade Me and done a search on rental properties in Waltham or nearby suburbs for under $400 a week for three to four bedrooms. There are 17 of them. That would be relevant information to include in the story

    Have you, as a solo mother of three children, approached the landlords and asked for a tenancy? The results of that would also add detail to the story.

    It is disingenuous to pretend a cursory search of a web site proves much. Such sources are useful for the start of locating resources, they are not the conclusion.

    With fast turn over in rental properties in Christchurch it’s not unlikely that advertised properties are quickly snapped up by tenants landlords may prefer.

    It’s fairly silly to claim their advertisement means they specifically are the solution to a certain persons problems.

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  5. lilman (951 comments) says:

    Fentex you’re so full of pathetic guilt I almost want to puke.

    A lying bitch who would put her kids on the street for one night ,let alone turn down offers of help shows what a silly unfit mother she is and I would have no hesitation removing her children because if she stays with them they have little or no chance.

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  6. RRM (9,785 comments) says:

    Is it still common to get bidding wars for Chch rentals?

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,282 comments) says:

    90 day evictions, from memory, can also be when the owner is moving back into their house.

    It’s 42 days if it’s the owner or new owner who is moving, but many (most?) will be nice and give 90 days. I would guess, this being Christchurch that the House is quite possibly being bought by someone to live in. Would be nice to have the information, but if it’s something of that nature, the lack of that information doesn’t show a lack of balance.

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  8. RRM (9,785 comments) says:

    Why doesn’t she just sell a child? Then she could get a smaller place for less rent!

    Solo mums, we all know what they’re like, amIright? ;-)

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  9. Hugh Pavletich (172 comments) says:

    David … it is inappropriate and rather callous to make light of the housing problems here in Christchurch.

    The reality is that Christchurch is internationally rated a “severely unaffordable” city at about 7.0 times annual household incomes … adjusted 2013 Demographia Survey figures http://www.demographia.com .

    You will note within the Introduction to this years Survey, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English made it clear housing use to be between 2.0 and 3.0 times annual incomes … and importantly … the Government is focused on restoring housing affordability in this country. Note what Bill English said last October at Performance Urban Planning http://www.PerformanceUrbanPlanning.org .

    The problems and solutions are well known and understood.

    [DPF: I've not said there are not housing problems, and that the Government shouldn't be doing more. What I've said is that this particular media example has not been thoroughly reported with all the facts]

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  10. RRM (9,785 comments) says:

    lilman – could you please point out the lie to me?

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  11. Graeme Edgeler (3,282 comments) says:

    Hunt is hoping to find a three or four-bedroom home in Waltham or surrounding suburbs, and said she could pay a maximum of $400 rent per week.

    A lot of families have three kids and don’t have four bedroom houses.

    She’s not looking for a four bedroom house. She’s looking for one that is three or four-bedroom. Should she be picky?

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  12. Psycho Milt (2,406 comments) says:

    I’ve gone to Trade Me and done a search on rental properties in Waltham or nearby suburbs for under $400 a week for three to four bedrooms. There are 17 of them. That would be relevant information to include in the story…

    Yes, it is relevant. She and various servants of government have been looking for a place for her to rent; it seems likely that in the process they stirred themselves to search TradeMe and found these 17 properties. It also seems likely that the landlords offering these properties on TradeMe would like someone to rent the property and pay rent on it. And yet the family doesn’t have a property rented – kind of suggests the landlords involved don’t want to rent to them, which is of course exactly why we have a state housing system, and why it would be nice if every National government didn’t undermine that system.

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  13. rouppe (963 comments) says:

    It was alluded to in the original article:

    She has applied and been rejected by dozens of rental homes (sic)

    Asking why they were rejected is pointless because of the discrimination laws. Whenever I decide not to accept a tenants application it is always “I have decided to choose someone else”.

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  14. metcalph (1,426 comments) says:

    I’m not sure that she’s being picky. I think the cause of her situation is that she is a “problem tenant” – the original article mentioned her problem with alcoholism that caused her kids to go into care for a while and that despite NGO help for 90 days she was unable to find a place to stay. Her turning down offers of help seems to confirm this.

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  15. iMP (2,356 comments) says:

    I agree Hugh. Yes, DPF there may be 17 houses on TradeMe but landlords are not going to give it to a solo mum with three kids. Dozens of people turn up to the open homes (many of them sub-letting speculators) and the landlords go with students, all paying 150 per room, so they net several hundred a week.

    I know of a near derelict house of 9 with holes in the walls and no doors, broken front fence, muddy drive, and weeds everywhere. The Landlord is getting $660 a week.

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  16. iMP (2,356 comments) says:

    In this scenario which is real for us in Chch, I favour Govt initiatives to drive down distortionary rent spirals that are severely harming people.

    A simple question: Chch heart failure and suicide is radically higher here, than anywhere else in NZ. Maybe this kind of stuff contributes.

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  17. wreck1080 (3,861 comments) says:

    but your facts make it a boring story.

    Also, i presume she does not have trademe access in her tent.

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  18. MT_Tinman (3,105 comments) says:

    Many moons ago I also was forced by circumstances to live in a tent.

    The bloody slime never gave me a write-up – bastards!

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  19. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    The fact of the matter is this is a stunt, being driven by Labour list candidate and community board member Brenda Lowe-Johnson. A similar stunt was pulled by Ms Lowe-Johnson 18 months ago, when she decided to live in her car as a protest. In both cases there were houses available for rent at reasonable rates in Christchurch, but Ms Lowe-Johnson has a political agenda. And it both cases it was the same Press reporter. So, so predictable.

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  20. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    The glorious state must take control of all property immediately. Somebody tell Dear Leader that it’s not fair that people who have worked and accumulated a rental property don’t let others have free access to it… The land lords must be locked up so Glorious Dear Leader can give these properties away to people who have never worked.

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  21. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    I once lived in my car for a few days. Labour was in government. They don’t care about the homeless.

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  22. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    RightNow

    You owned a car – you filthy capitalist…. Off to the reeducation camp for you.

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  23. Hugh Pavletich (172 comments) says:

    iMP … I am disappointed David is treating this serious issue so flippantly.

    the housing situation in Christchurch is a disgrace.

    To be perfectly clear … an unnecessary politically engineered disgrace.

    Why aren’t the Authorities STILL not allowing affordable housing to be built … some 3+ years after the first earthhquake events ?

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  24. taranaki (20 comments) says:

    Hi David – Can you show where you got these calculated figures from?

    The figure of $760 a week sounds light. Let’s say she is on $14 an hour full-time. That is $560 gross a week. Tax reduces that to $481 a week. WFF for three kids is $290 a week and the accom supplement for that income and $400 rent in Christchurch is $106 a week which is income of $877 a week or the gross equivalent of $55,000.

    [DPF: All from IRD and WINZ calculators. You fill in the details and it tells you what the WFF and Accom Supplement would be]

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  25. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    burt, it’s not like that. I was forced to take out a loan at usurious interest rates to buy the car and then I couldn’t pay my rent so that’s how I ended up living in the car. It was Labour in government at the time, they don’t care about the poor.

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  26. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    @taranaki, all that info can be obtained from
    IRD.govt.NZ (look for tax on income calculators)
    http://www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz/calculators/
    http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/a-z-benefits/accommodation-supplement.html

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  27. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Let’s say she is on $14 an hour full-time

    Wow that’s a massive pay rate! Is that what you pay your staff? :)

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  28. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    You looking for a better paying job ross69?

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  29. big bruv (13,688 comments) says:

    Well there is a surprise. Another parasite who thinks that it is my job to look after her and her kids.

    I have no sympathy for her, she can stay in the tent as far as I am concerned.

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  30. Than (450 comments) says:

    The original article said “She has applied and been rejected by dozens of rental homes”. But it doesn’t say why she was rejected, which is important information.

    I don’t agree that being a single mother would count against her, at least not with most landlords. Provided she had a steady record of paying her rent on time she should have had as good a chance as any other applicant. For her to be constantly rejected by all landlord means there must be something in her record that makes her an undesirable tenant.

    which is of course exactly why we have a state housing system, and why it would be nice if every National government didn’t undermine that system.

    Agreed, this sort of case is exactly why we have a state house system. Which is why it would be nice if every Labour government didn’t undermine that goal by demanding that a state house is for life even when people no longer require assistance.

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  31. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    Christchurch has lost a significant proportion of its housing stock. There is also a need to house construction workers who are required to be in Christchurch. High rents are the market sending a message to people that if you’re not needed in Christchurch, it might be a good idea to move elsewhere. So why doesn’t she look at the rest of the country?

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  32. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    davidp

    People shouldn’t need to move when other peoples money can be used to support their personal choices… Keep up

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  33. Steve Wrathall (281 comments) says:

    Lots of people choose to live in a tent this time of year. Must be a slow news week.

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  34. Richard Hurst (836 comments) says:

    “That would be relevant information to include in the story, and maybe ask why one of those were not rented.”

    No, No, No David! That doesn’t fit with the narrative! You actually expect journalists and editors to investigate stories? Good God man next you’ll be expecting the MSM present both sides of a story and give balanced reporting! Be reasonable David!

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  35. unaha-closp (1,157 comments) says:

    Christchurch lets people camp in public parks for free?

    That’s my holidays sorted then.

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  36. Fisiani (1,025 comments) says:

    Another beat up story about a publicity seeking drongo using children to give her a few minutes on tv. The media feed us half the story as usual and the truth fails to emerge.

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  37. Chris2 (761 comments) says:

    This appears to be one of those occasions where the Landlord has failed to fulfill her responsibilities as the Tenancy Tribunal awarded Nellie Hunt $4000 (minus $712 for unpaid rent) because the landlord failed to make repairs to the property after the Christchurch earthquake.

    Tribunal finding here (the rent was $220 per week, reduced from $260 when the house was listed for sale):

    https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/TT/Documents/56042070.pdf

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  38. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    Hugh Pavletich, the South Island’s Penny Bright.

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  39. unsol (6 comments) says:

    I’m preaching to the converted, but I will say it anyway – yet another example of responsibility being shifted to everyone but the person who actually has the control over their life.

    I decided to throw the spanner in the works yesterday by introducing some facts to the rabid ranting going on over at The Standard re whether we would ever see a bipartisan approach to the issue of child poverty.

    Of course I made no new friends when I calmly pointed out that in order for this to happen everyone would need to first accept some obvious facts which included:

    Child poverty is not the same as family poverty – a nett income of $870 p/w makes this point quite nicely. Thanks Nellie.

    Solo parents are responsible for 51% of children in poverty

    Maori teens are 5 x more likely to get pregnant than non Maori.

    Etc etc etc

    There may not be a silver bullet to this massively complex issue that has been exacerbated by decades of very poor social policy, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that the number one reason why children are not being fed, clothed & housed properly is because of the choices their parents or caregivers are making.

    Show me a poor person who can’t feed & clothe their kids & I will show you an illiterate budgeter who doesn’t know how to cut their cloth to suit.

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  40. unsol (6 comments) says:

    @ Hugh Pavletich (21 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 12:16 pm
    “David … it is inappropriate and rather callous to make light of the housing problems here in Christchurch.

    The reality is that Christchurch is internationally rated a “severely unaffordable” city at about 7.0 times annual household incomes …”

    No one would disagree with this, but having said that there are plenty of properties on Trade Me that are available for rent for $400 or less. Further, this lady gets about $55k a year. We earn significantly more than that & yet we own a tiny 3 bedroom house. Before we owned we always rented 2 bedroom, even after kids. Large homes – i.e. more than 100 sq metres, are a luxury, not a right. The kids should be expected to share a room & double bunk.

    It is women like this – solo mum with kids to different fathers, that kill any empathy those of us in better financial positions might have for them. It screams of a cultural of entitlement & a lack of emotional maturity where personal responsibility bears no part in their conscious thinking.

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  41. xy (181 comments) says:

    Yeah uh Christchurch is incredibly shitty to find rental properties when you have kids. Friends of mine with stable professional tech jobs were looking for months. People are still overbidding each other, if you have a pet you’re just fucked, and you need to show up with your good credit history and references so that the property manager can check whether you look scruffy.

    Also hate to break it to you but a significant number of the results in that trademe search are either short term leases or for ONE ROOM.

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  42. xy (181 comments) says:

    Plus there is a blacklist going around, and if you’re silly enough to enforce your legal tenancy rights you’re fucked forever.

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  43. unsol (6 comments) says:

    “xy (117 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 3:36 pm
    Plus there is a blacklist going around, and if you’re silly enough to enforce your legal tenancy rights you’re fucked forever.”

    Citation please.

    Yes many of the TM properties are advertised for short term leasing, but not all & not even half given that those same properties also offer long term leasing for a little bit more – e.g Listing #: 670228440

    As for pets – bit like kids as they too are a luxury, not a right. Of course those who had pets before the earthquake/before their own home became uninhabitable should be treated with more kindness. No one argues that CHCH is facing serious issues, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still responsible for their own choices & priorities.

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  44. unsol (6 comments) says:

    Chris2 (649 comments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    “This appears to be one of those occasions where the Landlord has failed to fulfil her responsibilities as the Tenancy Tribunal awarded Nellie Hunt $4000 (minus $712 for unpaid rent) because the landlord failed to make repairs to the property after the Christchurch earthquake.”

    This doesn’t mean that she has the right to go & demand a 4 bedroom house on a low income now though.

    I would also be interested to know whether $800 & $900 power bills p/m is normal in houses that are difficult to heat. Or is this a case of some expecting the benefits of something that they can’t afford – e.g. put the heater on before putting on another layer of clothing (within reason of course – only students should have to where down jackets inside or sleep in sleeping bags under bedding!).

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  45. stigie (1,066 comments) says:

    @RightNow
    burt, it’s not like that. I was forced to take out a loan at usurious interest rates to buy the car and then I couldn’t pay my rent so that’s how I ended up living in the car. It was Labour in government at the time, they don’t care about the poor.

    Yep, RightNow , but you had a car and as the far left are concerned, you are nothing but a dirty filthy capitalist !!~

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  46. kowtow (8,198 comments) says:

    auberon @1231 nails it. A political stunt that was carried un critically by all major “news” outlets in Aotearoa ,formerly New Zealand.

    As far as I’m concerned that is the real story and that should be given the widest dissemination.

    Oh for the equivalent of Fox News or a decent and real newspaper here in Te Wai AoteaWhateverneverneverland.

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  47. artemisia (234 comments) says:

    “xy (117 comments) says: December 10th, 2013 at 3:36 pm Plus there is a blacklist going around, and if you’re silly enough to enforce your legal tenancy rights you’re fucked forever.”

    Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the previous tenancy issues, such a large payout from the Tenancy Tribunal decision will be known around the traps v quickly, and send many agencies and landlords right to their risk assessment process.

    Ad to unsol who wanted a citation – that ain’t how these things work.

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  48. Viking2 (11,370 comments) says:

    mments) says:
    December 10th, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    This appears to be one of those occasions where the Landlord has failed to fulfill her responsibilities as the Tenancy Tribunal awarded Nellie Hunt $4000 (minus $712 for unpaid rent) because the landlord failed to make repairs to the property after the Christchurch earthquake.

    Tribunal finding here (the rent was $220 per week, reduced from $260 when the house was listed for sale):

    https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/TT/Documents/56042070.pdf
    =======================

    As a longtime Landlord this seems a fair ruling to me. Tenants are not always wrong and in this case both the tenancy Manager and the Landlord must have known the problem. Iit smacks of small mindedness ( revenge perhaps) that the lady was asked to leave when the ruling went against the Landlord. Incidentally, twice yearly inspections don’t meet the test. If you want insurance then every three months.

    In fact the real question should be Has the Landlord fixed the building to a rent able standard or has someone just accepted the wreck as a place to bed down while they work on a construction site at an overpaid rate.
    Perhaps their is a case for “warrant of Fitness” for rentals though myself I’m not really in favour but accept that like employers there is always the scum bag Landlords.

    Its worth noting that the Landlord should have had insurance. No perhaps not and that may account for the building not being repaired.

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  49. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    I heard this lady being interviewed on the wireless this morning. Even she was surprised at the poverty angle taken by The Press.

    I guess it suited The Press to play it this way as they are doing a week looking at ‘poverty’ in New Zealand.

    Which the National government is responsible for of course.

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  50. lilman (951 comments) says:

    RPM the whole premise is a lie.
    If she wanted a house she could get one,thats proven,but she stays in a tent with her children because as it states,”she cant find a house for her and her children.”

    So the lying mole is trying it on and as far as Im concerned she should have allbennefits cut to zero for 6 months,

    After all I am paying for everything,so she can go to hell.

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  51. Twinkletoes (53 comments) says:

    And now she has a four bedroom house she can take in a “boarder” for adult compnionship!

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  52. Twinkletoes (53 comments) says:

    Three of my immediate neighbours have been “evicted” by their landlords, plus the young solo mother who does our cleaning. The landlords then move in, have any repairs done (usually by opting out of the EQC plan), then move back to their original homes letting out properties that were formerly around $350per week to the EQC. for well over $1000:00 per week.

    If one can offer a fully furnished high standard property to the EQC (MySky, computer and all the mod cons) the payback is enormous. My semi-detached town house now rents for $1700:00 per week (power included) to those who have had to move out of earthquake damaged homes and prefer a house rather than a hotel.

    The neighbour at the back was a long term renter from a “friend” and had looked after the house and garden with great care for years. She had to move out, plus every stick of furniture and furnishing she w owned, consigned to a container, whilst the EQC were renovating it. The owner of that house lives two avenues away with new boyfriend and new boyfriend’s house is due for refurbishment so they are moving back to newly renovated house after the evicted tenant did the hard yards! The owner’s boyfriends house will then be going to the EQC and will return the same humungous rent as my semidetached one pulls in at the moment.

    Unfortunately the solo mother who works for me is in the same position – she receives $300 accommodation allowance from WINZ, has three little children under school age (her husband had a major stroke and is permanently hospitalised). her only other option is to move to Invercargill while her separated husband remains in care up here.

    The chap who bought my semi next door for a vastly inflated sum is gathering a portfolio of “EQC” rentals all over the city. He is interested in mine and I have given it some thought. I have lived here among friendly neighbours for years but can see my avenue becoming mostly all rentals and the loss of our harmonious little community. Hard luck on those who own million dollar properties around me seeing their street becoming something which they had not envisaged when they paid the higher prices for a safe environment. (Not me, I just have a nice little townhouse in a batch of four but am constantly being besieged by estate agents because of the location).

    I have finally won my battle with the EQC to be taken off the “multi-dwelling ” list which is at the end of the repair session, who knows how many years away. So I have opted out and my repairs, thro’ a private contractor, begin next week.

    I got hit but my semi neighbour came thro’ unscathed which is why it was rented to the EQC so quickly! Such are the vagaries of life – what to do, what to do?

    Dental appt. no time to edit.

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  53. noonetovotefor (4 comments) says:

    not many likes for the comments showing that maybe the mother was in the right…

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