Christchurch landlords are cashing in on the earthquakes by
putting up rents by as much as $250 a week - even for rundown
Latest figures from an online site show that on average rents
have increased by 25 per cent in the past year as demand
soared by 38 per cent and the number of houses available to
rent dropped 21 per cent.
The demand has been caused by people needing to move while
their earthquake-damaged homes are repaired or rebuilt,
red-zoned householders soaking up temporary accommodation,
and the influx of rebuild workers from outside Christchurch.
Landlords are testing their tenancy agreements to the limit
in a bid to increase rents as quickly as they can.
In one one example a group of workers from Auckland have been
told their rent will go up $250 a week to more than $600 for
their rundown bungalow near AMI Stadium.
It was a "take it or leave it" offer, the tenants said.
The demand for housing in Linwood rose by 124 per cent from
this time last year, while the number of available houses
dropped y 42 per cent.
Property manager and co-owner of Looking 4 Rentals, Jo
Arbuckle, said rent on three-bedroom homes in Linwood was
between $300 and around $450 per week.
She said a fully furnished three bedroom rental with "a good
garden" was going for $470.
"That's at the top end [of the Linwood market]. We've only
had the ad up since the start of the week and we've had three
"There are more and more people looking and less and less
Ms Arbuckle said that in more desirable areas such as St
Albans, rent was definitely higher, starting at around $400.
"We've got one on Springfield Rd, fully furnished, it's being
rented for a short term for people having earthquake repairs
and that's $750."
Ms Arbuckle said demand was so high people were "pre-booking"
houses for when their homes had earthquake repairs.
She did not think landlords were necessarily being greedy by
putting up their rent.
"It depends on what they're providing, to be honest. The
rental market in Christchurch has been below the national
standard for a long time," she said.
Department of Building and Housing data from June 2012
indicated an 18 per cent increase in average weekly rent on
the previous year.
This compared to a 4 per cent national rise over the same
In July average weekly rents had dropped slightly to $334,
still above the national average of $329.
- By Alex Mason of The Star