Kate Hawkesby: Who'd be a landlord in Dunedin?

Hostel living around the world is easier than flatting in Dunedin. Photo: ODT
Photo: ODT
OPINION: Who’d be a landlord? Well more specifically, a landlord in Dunedin.

I mean here in Auckland, our landlord worries are expensive heat pumps and getting the government sanctioned insulation just right. But in Dunedin? Bigger fish to fry.

It’s 'O Week' this week and the students are flooding into Otago for orientation, sorting their flats, and generally getting the beer funnels going from the kegs into the flat kitchen.

With this onslaught of students comes the onslaught of flat warmings.

And here’s where I feel a bit queasy for the landlords.

While some flat warmings have gone without a hitch, there are others which are, how can I put it... concerning.

The latest one was a video circulating of tanked up students going a bit nuts inside the lounge of their new flat.

And by a bit nuts I mean, charging at an internal wall and head-butting it, kicking it, slamming against it, until it literally caved in.

So, as a landlord in Dunedin, I mean quite apart from withholding the bond, what are you doing?

How many times are you rebuilding internal walls because a party got out of hand and students went nuts?

How much damage is bearable?

I mean most landlords were worried about a few hooks into the wall and tenants splashing around some wacky paint colour, but demolishing structural aspects of the house? That’s next level.

Maybe landlords who rent to students are used to it?

Maybe it’s the same with student culture everywhere? Maybe the houses are rented out with that in mind?

Maybe the flats are in a certain state to account for inevitable party damage?

I know of one Mum who thought that, with 3 kids off to attend Otago, she'd maybe buy a house they could flat in. These houses though are not cheap. Starting price for something students can potentially destroy is more than a million dollars. So if you're thinking it might just be cheap real estate, think again.

So for every landlord whining about tenants and worried about what they may do to a property, spare a thought for landlords in Dunedin who rent to the handful of Otago Uni students who do go a bit wild.

I’m sure most students are great, we’ve got one flatting in Dunedin and as far as we’re aware, all the internal walls of her flat are still in tact. But for the handful of students who don’t seem to appreciate infrastructure, who see a flat as an opportunity to do WWE and just be human wrecking balls, that’s got to be tricky to manage for landlords.

It’s a bit more stressful than what size heat pump to install.






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