Rent crisis intensifying

Social media pleas for a home as winter nears.

Social media pleas for a home as winter nears.

Gisborne’s renting crisis is reaching desperation point as many people continue to search for a home but only a small number of properties available.

The Ministry of Social Development’s housing register shows there are 215 people on its list for the Gisborne district.

Home Rental Services managing director Graham Faulkner says the situation is desperate for many families.

He estimates at least 1000 people are looking for a home.

“It’s just as bad as it was since the last Gisborne Herald article (November 2018). The situation is still the same,” he said.

“With winter coming it’s going to be even more difficult.”

The reason for the crisis is “a perfect storm of a mixture of things”, he says.

“I think a lot of it is to do with the increase in the population in Gisborne. There are a lot of people moving to town.

“Mortgage rates are low. New potential home owners who are coming into town are choosing to buy and often these are rentals that then cease to be in the rental pool.”

The waiting list is huge, which has increased his workload.

“I cleared my emails at the end of last week. By Tuesday morning I had 85 new emails of applications for properties.

“Every one of those emails had a similar story.

“Here is one example . . . ‘I have been living with my parents since December. It is overcrowded and we are more anxious coming into winter’.

“Families are overwhelmed by this crisis. In the past we would usually have three to four applicants for one property. Now it is at least 30 or 40 applicants.

“I get so overwhelmed that I don’t have time to reply to many of the applications.”

Some families have given up looking, Mr Faulkner says.

“I regularly have to turn down about 50 families a week who have applied for rentals but who don’t even make the shortlist to view.

“Some have been applying for nearly a year while they are in overcrowded situations, staying with family of friends.”

Mr Faulkner says availability of storage units in Gisborne has also been affected.

He has come across families struggling to find a unit to store their furniture in until they found a house.

Only a handful of properties available

A person who recently moved back to Gisborne told The Gisborne Herald his furniture was still in storage in Hawke’s Bay as there was nothing available locally.

As of yesterday afternoon, there were seven Gisborne rental properties advertised on Trade Me.

Out of those listings, four were one-bedroom properties, two were three-bedroom and one was a two-bedroom house.

Nine properties were listed on the realestate.co.nz website and three were listed with Home Rental Services.

One local resident has two weeks to move out of her current rental as the property is being sold. She is struggling to find a home for her family of five.

“You go to a viewing and there are at least 30 other people all vying for the one place,” she says.

She has been making pleas on Facebook and other social media platforms, as well as text messaging everyone in her phone contacts list in the hope that something will come up.

Another local woman and her family of five have until June to move out of their current address.

“That is right in the middle of winter. I don’t want us to be out in the cold trying to put a roof over our heads.”

Social media has shown the desperation of the renting crisis, especially on community pages such as the Gisborne Rental Accomodation Facebook page.

“Still needing a three-bedroom home for me and my two kids,” one Gisborne resident posted.

“I know rentals are so hard to come by for everyone but this is better than nothing. Just need to keep trying.

“Our living conditions are not good at the moment. This is now starting to affect my kids. If anyone knows of anything please private message me.

“Good luck to all finding homes because I know how hard it is right now.”

Some desperate house hunters have been looking to alternative options such as renting portable cabins.

After moving house numerous times in the past year, one local resident decided to hire a cabin and install it in her parent’s backyard.

The cabin option was also being explored on local community Facebook pages, as one person posted.

“Does anyone have a back yard for a cabin to be out on and connected to power, with shared use of bathroom and kitchen?”

Gisborne’s renting crisis is reaching desperation point as many people continue to search for a home but only a small number of properties available.

The Ministry of Social Development’s housing register shows there are 215 people on its list for the Gisborne district.

Home Rental Services managing director Graham Faulkner says the situation is desperate for many families.

He estimates at least 1000 people are looking for a home.

“It’s just as bad as it was since the last Gisborne Herald article (November 2018). The situation is still the same,” he said.

“With winter coming it’s going to be even more difficult.”

The reason for the crisis is “a perfect storm of a mixture of things”, he says.

“I think a lot of it is to do with the increase in the population in Gisborne. There are a lot of people moving to town.

“Mortgage rates are low. New potential home owners who are coming into town are choosing to buy and often these are rentals that then cease to be in the rental pool.”

The waiting list is huge, which has increased his workload.

“I cleared my emails at the end of last week. By Tuesday morning I had 85 new emails of applications for properties.

“Every one of those emails had a similar story.

“Here is one example . . . ‘I have been living with my parents since December. It is overcrowded and we are more anxious coming into winter’.

“Families are overwhelmed by this crisis. In the past we would usually have three to four applicants for one property. Now it is at least 30 or 40 applicants.

“I get so overwhelmed that I don’t have time to reply to many of the applications.”

Some families have given up looking, Mr Faulkner says.

“I regularly have to turn down about 50 families a week who have applied for rentals but who don’t even make the shortlist to view.

“Some have been applying for nearly a year while they are in overcrowded situations, staying with family of friends.”

Mr Faulkner says availability of storage units in Gisborne has also been affected.

He has come across families struggling to find a unit to store their furniture in until they found a house.

Only a handful of properties available

A person who recently moved back to Gisborne told The Gisborne Herald his furniture was still in storage in Hawke’s Bay as there was nothing available locally.

As of yesterday afternoon, there were seven Gisborne rental properties advertised on Trade Me.

Out of those listings, four were one-bedroom properties, two were three-bedroom and one was a two-bedroom house.

Nine properties were listed on the realestate.co.nz website and three were listed with Home Rental Services.

One local resident has two weeks to move out of her current rental as the property is being sold. She is struggling to find a home for her family of five.

“You go to a viewing and there are at least 30 other people all vying for the one place,” she says.

She has been making pleas on Facebook and other social media platforms, as well as text messaging everyone in her phone contacts list in the hope that something will come up.

Another local woman and her family of five have until June to move out of their current address.

“That is right in the middle of winter. I don’t want us to be out in the cold trying to put a roof over our heads.”

Social media has shown the desperation of the renting crisis, especially on community pages such as the Gisborne Rental Accomodation Facebook page.

“Still needing a three-bedroom home for me and my two kids,” one Gisborne resident posted.

“I know rentals are so hard to come by for everyone but this is better than nothing. Just need to keep trying.

“Our living conditions are not good at the moment. This is now starting to affect my kids. If anyone knows of anything please private message me.

“Good luck to all finding homes because I know how hard it is right now.”

Some desperate house hunters have been looking to alternative options such as renting portable cabins.

After moving house numerous times in the past year, one local resident decided to hire a cabin and install it in her parent’s backyard.

The cabin option was also being explored on local community Facebook pages, as one person posted.

“Does anyone have a back yard for a cabin to be out on and connected to power, with shared use of bathroom and kitchen?”

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tuta - 9 days ago
Currently 200 whanau are sitting on the registry; keep in mind these are the top 200 families of a list of 100s more. The government needs to double the build they've committed to Tairawhiti - both Meka Whaitiri and Kiri Allan need to fight harder to create more real opportunities for investment for local iwi.

G R Webb - 8 days ago
Kiri Allan actually needs to do something about this problem. The Government she is part of is failing miserably on the housing front, as it is with child poverty and tree planting.

Zeynep Simpson - 8 days ago
I'm not sure if I understand correctly (since I'm a foreigner): Will the NZ government be building free houses for people in Gisborne? Hundreds of them?

Melissa Jenkins - 7 days ago
There are many problems causing the rental crisis in Gisborne with rentals being too few, too expensive, too hard to obtain, too temporary and generally unsuitable.
Having moved from Auckland to Gisborne over two years ago, the first thing I noticed was the poor condition of the rentals on the market. Many were completely filthy, riddled with pests and filled to the brim with broken and dilapidated furnishings. The photos online were old and not up to date, giving a false impression of the rental. Slum lording is rampant in Gisborne.
The Tenancy Tribunal will acknowledge complaints against landlords breaking the Tenancy Act but if you pursue and win a case, you will be blacklisted using the Tenancy Portal even though you did nothing wrong except stand up for your rights. So, most tenants turn a blind eye and keep quiet. Everyone is afraid to speak up against the poor conditions for fear of losing the only housing available to them. Meanwhile, luxury condos were recently made at the GDC-owned Top 10 Holiday Park for tourists who will use them for a few months out of the year.
It is appalling that some landlords are asking $500-$700 per week for their rental filled with their used furnishings, and then asking you to vacate just before summertime!
The most disturbing situation I have witnessed was when a real estate agent was showing me a commercial property only to find an entire family with at least five children squatting in conditions not deemed for human habitation (no shower, no insulation and potential chemical hazards). Sadly, they were kicked out and who knows what happened to them.
Gisborne, it's time we step up and demand clean, modern and affordable housing with long-term secure and legal rental agreements! With empty land in every direction, there is no excuse!

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