Quality rental properties are in short supply for families in the Waitaki district.
Families are having to rely on emergency accommodation in motels and campgrounds, due to a lack of suitable options.
Alma Motels had been an ongoing provider of emergency housing in the district, a spokesman for the accommodation provider said.
Families and individuals who struggled to find somewhere to live were helped by Work and Income New Zealand into emergency housing.
The Alma Motels spokesman said it was ‘‘pretty much ongoing’’ having emergency housing people stay, and it had been happening for the past two-and-a-half to three years.
Although it was a bit quieter at present, with only two units occupied, a couple of weeks back four were full, he said.
One customer, who had been staying, said there had been 40 people ‘‘lining up’’ for a rental property he looked at.
‘‘So that just gives you a wee bit of an indication on how tight things are.’’
LJ Hooker Oamaru Rentals business administrator Nikita Coubrough said there was a ‘‘real shortage’’ of family homes for rent.
‘‘The only things we’ve really got on our books is upstairs apartments, studios and flat kind-of places, as opposed to actual family homes.’’
Miss Coubrough believed the shortage was due to a combination of factors, including a change in legislation for landlords, which had made owning rental properties less profitable.
In March, the Government announced interest paid on rental mortgages would gradually no longer be tax deductible, and since July 1, landlords have been required to meet healthy homes standards with sufficient heating, insulation, and ventilation.
‘‘That made a big difference to how profitable rentals were to some people . . . and so a lot of them did go on the market. It’s the selling of rentals that’s made a massive, massive difference.’’
Although they did not keep a waitlist — ‘‘because things are always changing with people that are putting in applications’’ — they were ‘‘very aware’’ there were a lot of people looking, she said.
Families often had pets, which added to their difficulties, and Miss Coubrough urged landlords to consider allowing pets the homes.
‘‘Myself and my colleagues are big pet fans — we’re not in the business of telling anybody to get rid of their pets. We would never get rid of our own, so we would never recommend that to anybody.’’
She suggested owners of Airbnb properties that were empty due to a lack of tourists, might consider putting tenants in them.
‘‘There’s some really good people out there, who are looking for properties,’’ she said.
‘‘Obviously these people are going through a really tough time, and they’re trying to find something, and there’s just not a lot available out there.’’
People were also being caught short when selling their homes and not buying straight away, expecting to be able to rent, she said.
‘‘We’re hearing it quite regularly. It’s something people aren’t considering before they sell their homes, where they’re going to live, should they not be able to buy straight away.
Weston woman Abbey McKenzie and her family found themselves in that exact situation, after selling their home. They are in the process of building, and needed a shortterm rental, which was very hard to come by. dry and suitable for young kids,’’ she said.
‘‘A lot of what we looked at was pretty rundown and the choice was next to none.
‘‘We were super lucky word of mouth found us one.’’
The biggest problems they faced were the lack of selection, the cost and the amount of paperwork that was involved just to look at one through anagency, she said.
Waitaki Newcomers Network and Migrant Support co-ordinator Christine Dorsey said, despite the new regulations surrounding rentals, the problem she saw the most was tenants who were cold in their houses over winter.
‘‘Even though we’ve had all these new laws come in, we still have properties that are not all that desirable to live in,’’ Mrs Dorsey said.
‘‘So I see some movement from people who are going into houses and then not staying very long in them, because they’re finding them too cold. So the demand for good places is definitely there.’’
People who were in cold rentals had to ‘‘work quite hard’’ to find another rental, and it meant they would have to move again .
‘‘It’s just a stress that no-one needs, particularly for migrants, who may not have access to trailers and all that kind of thing. Often people don’t know what a place will be like in terms of warmth until they’re living in it.’’
Complaints about non-compliance would be made to Tenancy Services, but many worried making a complaint could count against the tenant when they were applying for future housing, she said.