Worst flat complete with rats

Officially, Dunedin's worst student flat, Bonnie Doon.
Officially, Dunedin's worst student flat, Bonnie Doon.
Functionality is key in this Union St West flat.
Functionality is key in this Union St West flat.
Union St West flatmates (from left) Seamus Maher, of Paraparaumu, Laurence Holding, of North...
Union St West flatmates (from left) Seamus Maher, of Paraparaumu, Laurence Holding, of North Canterbury, and Rhys Kelly, of Ashburton, with Wishbone Winston Reid, pose by the gaping hole in the hallway yesterday. Photos by Gerard O'Brien.
One of four pet rats in the award-winning worst student flat, in Union St West.
One of four pet rats in the award-winning worst student flat, in Union St West.

The gaping hole in the hallway floor may be a hazard, the four rats in the lounge may be disgusting, and the graffiti-covered walls could make your nana blush, but for five flatmates on Union St West, their flat is simply home.

The flat, "Bonnie Doon", was named by the Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) as the worst in Dunedin, an "honour" for which it will get a full professional clean.

Tenant Rhys Kelly said they entered the competition because they were proud of their flat, despite its many, and varied, flaws.

For $90 each a week they rent the house, which, if it were anywhere other than North Dunedin, "would no way comply to a single required safety standard", he said.

The house is on a lean, the carpet in the lounge is moist and sticky, a drain overflows when the toilet is flushed, and the backyard has been treated as if it were a landfill.

However, the flat's redeeming features include a well-established vege garden, a fire and a sunny deck.

"You only get to live like this once," Mr Kelly said.

The award simply "put a title to what we already know".

Property manager Jenny Martin said the tenants were a great group of guys, but she declined to comment on the state of the flat.

The flat's "gems" were some of the many the judging panel, made up of OUSA president Harriet Geoghegan, welfare officer Claire Jackson, accommodation office manager Adele Evans and Dunedin City Council local body candidates Jinty MacTavish, Jono Clark, Andrew Eames and Aaron Hawkins saw yesterday.

Ms Jackson said about 20 flats entered the competition, which celebrated the best, and highlighted the worst, of the city's flats.

The best flat went to "The Picnic Table" on Albany St, which won $150 worth of grocery vouchers.

Tenant Paul Lawrence believed it was the best flat because it boasted 13 couches, four of which made up a grandstand in the lounge; it had a vege garden, was a social hub, and was sunny.

They overlooked the worst aspects of the flat - parts leaked when it rained heavily, the bathroom floor had rotted out and one room had a "garden growing out of its walls" - because they simply loved living there with each other.

Attempts to contact the owners of both the best and worst flats were unsuccessful.

Other flats in the running for best flat were 17 Bath St, 48 Howe St, and 624 Castle St.

Worst flat contestants were 53 Bond St and 17 Ethel Benjamin Pl.

- ellie.constantine@odt.co.nz

 

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