Gisborne's rental homes drought

File picture by Louis McKenna

GISBORNE residents Bex and Will Girod have until January 22 to find a new rental property for their family. But they can't find anything.

They are among an ever-increasing group of families trying to find somewhere to live in a rental market hit by a double whammy — a chronic shortage of options and a leap in rents.

The Trade Me rental price index for November showed Gisborne rents jumped 18.8 percent in one month. That is the third-highest increase in the country.

Yesterday only three rental properties were available on the site. Other avenues to find a rental include real estate agents and home rental services.

Bronwyn Kay Agency property manager Steve Phillips said when they listed a rental property, especially good quality family homes, they could have more than 30 to 40 people wanting more information, which dropped to about 10 applications for which to complete tenancy checks.

“The shortage is quite severe, although I have heard there are many empty homes out there that are just sitting due to tenants damaging them and also P (methamphetamine) contamination.”

Mr Phillips said there were tenants who did not appreciate a roof over their heads and damaged homes, broke windows, did not pay rent or used the homes for illegal activities like drug use — which then affected the number of homes available to rent.

“These people have contributed to the rental shortage that we have now. I have heard there are about 40-plus houses empty due to tenant damage in Gisborne.

“There has been a lot of negative press about landlords but in my experience most landlords are genuinely trying to maintain their homes so the tenants can enjoy living in them.

Tenants' actions

“I think the actions of certain tenants need to be addressed and the public made aware there are two sides to a coin.”

Home Rental Services owner Graham Faulkner agrees.

“These are people with no jobs and/or no tenancy references, or who are blacklisted for previous bad tenancies, or have a history of crime and gang affiliation.

“Or they are too young or have very large families. Many owners are not prepared to let a standard three-bedroom house to someone with six or seven children.

“The good old days when there were spare rentals and landlords had to accept tenants they really were not happy with have gone.

“Now they can pick and choose, and get good quality tenants who will actually pay rent on time and look after the place.”

Mr and Mrs Girod are part of an ever-increasing group of people who have full-time jobs, good references but still can’t find a rental, or those that pop up are priced out of their reach.

Mrs Girod is a trained teacher and Mr Girod is an engineer.

Last week they looked at a three-bedroom home for $490. To move in, they had to front up with $3500 for bond and rent in advance.

The cost was horrendous, Mrs Girod said.

If they can't find anything in the next three weeks, she said they will have to reluctantly leave Gisborne and their friends behind.

“We love Gisborne and we would be happy to stay here and live our lives here, but it’s really hard to find somewhere to rent.”

Supply and demand

Mr Phillips said rising rents were the simple economics of supply and demand.

“As house prices have risen due to more demand, this flows on to increased rents, due to investors having to pay

more for the properties and ensure they can get sufficient income to keep the banks happy.

“The other factor is landlords are spending money on renovating the homes to bring them up to a better standard so they can attract a higher rent.”

“If all tenants treated their homes with respect, the housing shortage would be nowhere near as acute.”

Mr Faulkner said there was a definite increase in the quality of rentals offered.

“We are no longer seeing the rough, poorly-presented rentals that used to make up at least a third of rentals available. These have all been sold to investors who have renovated and resold for capital gain or have simply re-let at a higher rent to better-quality tenants.”

Mr Faulkner sees up to 20 people apply for each new listing.

“Of these, at least 90 percent are not suitable for the rental and are not even short-listed to view. These are the people that HNZ and WINZ are helping to find accommodation. They are either in emergency housing or staying short-term with family or friends in an overcrowded situation.”

Mr Faulkner said there was an increase in the number of families moving to Gisborne and buying houses that would otherwise have been in the rental market.

One of the reasons for people to come here has been lifestyle, and the Gisborne population has seen it’s first uplift in numbers over the past few years.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier for the families who need a roof over their heads now.

GISBORNE residents Bex and Will Girod have until January 22 to find a new rental property for their family. But they can't find anything.

They are among an ever-increasing group of families trying to find somewhere to live in a rental market hit by a double whammy — a chronic shortage of options and a leap in rents.

The Trade Me rental price index for November showed Gisborne rents jumped 18.8 percent in one month. That is the third-highest increase in the country.

Yesterday only three rental properties were available on the site. Other avenues to find a rental include real estate agents and home rental services.

Bronwyn Kay Agency property manager Steve Phillips said when they listed a rental property, especially good quality family homes, they could have more than 30 to 40 people wanting more information, which dropped to about 10 applications for which to complete tenancy checks.

“The shortage is quite severe, although I have heard there are many empty homes out there that are just sitting due to tenants damaging them and also P (methamphetamine) contamination.”

Mr Phillips said there were tenants who did not appreciate a roof over their heads and damaged homes, broke windows, did not pay rent or used the homes for illegal activities like drug use — which then affected the number of homes available to rent.

“These people have contributed to the rental shortage that we have now. I have heard there are about 40-plus houses empty due to tenant damage in Gisborne.

“There has been a lot of negative press about landlords but in my experience most landlords are genuinely trying to maintain their homes so the tenants can enjoy living in them.

Tenants' actions

“I think the actions of certain tenants need to be addressed and the public made aware there are two sides to a coin.”

Home Rental Services owner Graham Faulkner agrees.

“These are people with no jobs and/or no tenancy references, or who are blacklisted for previous bad tenancies, or have a history of crime and gang affiliation.

“Or they are too young or have very large families. Many owners are not prepared to let a standard three-bedroom house to someone with six or seven children.

“The good old days when there were spare rentals and landlords had to accept tenants they really were not happy with have gone.

“Now they can pick and choose, and get good quality tenants who will actually pay rent on time and look after the place.”

Mr and Mrs Girod are part of an ever-increasing group of people who have full-time jobs, good references but still can’t find a rental, or those that pop up are priced out of their reach.

Mrs Girod is a trained teacher and Mr Girod is an engineer.

Last week they looked at a three-bedroom home for $490. To move in, they had to front up with $3500 for bond and rent in advance.

The cost was horrendous, Mrs Girod said.

If they can't find anything in the next three weeks, she said they will have to reluctantly leave Gisborne and their friends behind.

“We love Gisborne and we would be happy to stay here and live our lives here, but it’s really hard to find somewhere to rent.”

Supply and demand

Mr Phillips said rising rents were the simple economics of supply and demand.

“As house prices have risen due to more demand, this flows on to increased rents, due to investors having to pay

more for the properties and ensure they can get sufficient income to keep the banks happy.

“The other factor is landlords are spending money on renovating the homes to bring them up to a better standard so they can attract a higher rent.”

“If all tenants treated their homes with respect, the housing shortage would be nowhere near as acute.”

Mr Faulkner said there was a definite increase in the quality of rentals offered.

“We are no longer seeing the rough, poorly-presented rentals that used to make up at least a third of rentals available. These have all been sold to investors who have renovated and resold for capital gain or have simply re-let at a higher rent to better-quality tenants.”

Mr Faulkner sees up to 20 people apply for each new listing.

“Of these, at least 90 percent are not suitable for the rental and are not even short-listed to view. These are the people that HNZ and WINZ are helping to find accommodation. They are either in emergency housing or staying short-term with family or friends in an overcrowded situation.”

Mr Faulkner said there was an increase in the number of families moving to Gisborne and buying houses that would otherwise have been in the rental market.

One of the reasons for people to come here has been lifestyle, and the Gisborne population has seen it’s first uplift in numbers over the past few years.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier for the families who need a roof over their heads now.

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Chase - 1 year ago
This isn't Auckland and yet Auckland prices are hitting little towns . . . small towns don't have the infrastructure that large cities do, so the costs should be lower . . . realtors exaggerate the rents to get a higher percentage of their monthly take from the landlord.

Chrystal - 1 year ago
I think that maybe landlords should make sure the rent is reasonable and that tenants can afford to pay, rather than have it out of their price range.

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