Dunedin's worst student flat is getting some much-needed
attention in what is hoped will become a model project for
others which are down in the dumps.
Known to past and present tenants as the ''S##t House
Chateau'', the London St address has become a new base for
students focused on improving housing quality.
It was voted the worst student flat in the Otago University
Students Association 2012 Student Flat Awards.
Current tenant Lindsey Horne, who is a member of youth
organisation Generation Zero, said she and her flatmates and
friends wanted to improve the standard of living for
''Flats in Dunedin are quite overpriced for quite a low
standard of living so we want to see if landlords are
prepared to meet us halfway if students step up and do some
of the work as well.''
They were busy creating a vegetable garden on Sunday, thanks
to a $500 grant from the Big Green Challenge and had plans
for improving the inside.
Sycamore trees covered in old man's beard and growing wild
around the house, shutting out light and causing damp had
been ''annihilated'' with a chainsaw in their first working
bee, Ms Horne said.
The inside, which has features with names like the ''grotty
potty'' and some equally attractive ''poetry'' on the walls,
will be renovated.
Insulation and new gib board is being organised by the
students, with the landlord paying the cost of materials and
In return, the tenants and their friends, including members
of Generation Zero, were doing as much of the labour as they
What they want to finish with is a warm house with low energy
costs and a garden that helps feed the tenants.
Rent has been lowered because of the work they are doing.
''The property manager has been really good . . . it is quite
a good balance with all of us doing work but then making sure
that the landlords are fronting up for what they need to do
as well because you do not want to let them off too easy.''
Help for the model student flat concept is also coming from
the University of Otago and the Dunedin City Council.
They still had room for one more tenant for the six-bedroom
villa and interest had been surprisingly strong, Ms Horne