Region rental shortage pain

For Rent Sign Outside House

People looking for rental accommodation in Ashburton are facing an uphill battle.

A combination of covid, government introducing healthy home standards and a tax hike for landlords has created a perfect storm causing investment property owners to sell up.

A lot of the purchasers are first home buyers due to low interest rates, so the people left out in the cold are the tenants who are given 90 days to move out, and often need to rely on tax funded emergency housing.

Shinene Appleton, of Ashburton, was pregnant with her third child when her and partner

Shinene Appleton

Ben’s rental went on the market in March this year.

The couple had the foresight to start the hunt straight away, not waiting for the house to sell and the 90 day notice to be issued. It took over five months to find a new home.

“We looked through between 15-20 houses and only got offered one, the rest were unsuccessful,” she said.

Being pregnant added to the strain of trying to find a home for the family as time ran out.

“It was a very stressful time looking for a new rental. It got to the point where we had a few weeks left to be out and I thought we would end up in emergency accommodation. Lucky we got offered a house and took it straight away.”

Property manager Jan Smith said competition in the district’s rental market was high and recommended people looking for a rental acted fast, had good references and had a better chance of securing a tenancy if they did not have pets.

Choosing a home over a pet can be a hard choice.

“Some owners can get upset when asked if they would consider rehoming their pet, but this could be just temporary, maybe live there for six months and once you have proven yourself approach the owner about getting a pet,” Mrs Smith said.

With the increase in first home buyers there are less rental properties on the market.

“Previously we would have had 10-15 properties available, this week there are only three.”

When the properties were listed they can get over ten inquiries in an hour, with competition so stiff she recommended tenants put their best foot forward and treat viewings like a job interview.

“We are having group viewings now, up to 20 people can come to a viewing, it can be heartbreaking, there is only one person or family we can give a positive answer to,” she said.