Bollywood

As Wellington bedsit asking $420 pw draws anger, we compare offerings around NZ


When Auckland University lecturer Sarah Bickerton saw an advertisment on Trade Me for a small bedsit in Wellington for $420 a week that asked for applicants’ flat hunting CV “to get a head-start on everyone else”, she thought it was satire.

Her disbelief seems to be shared – one man who tweeted about the property joked the proximity of the bed to the kitchen would make it easier to make a cup of tea at night, while another said flats in the area were always overpriced.

Others online said the rental was a symptom of a market that had recently experienced record rent hikes.

While it hit a nerve with current and former Wellingtonian renters, the property manager defended the listing when contacted by Stuff.

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Some responders to the Tweet said it was evidence that rental controls were needed.

Twitter

Some responders to the Tweet said it was evidence that rental controls were needed.

Landlord responds

The manager, who asked not to be named, said he asked viewers how the bedsit compared, and feedback this year was it compared favourably, and was priced appropriately, given couples would be paying $210 each.

“Comments range from it is in a lovely location at the end of a quiet street, is a five-minute walk to the city, is a good size with built-in wardrobes and cupboards, a good-sized bathroom and has all the whiteware, and nice clean kitchen,” he said.

“In particular, it is not a damp flat and is not a cold flat.”

The bedsit was about 45 square metres, which he said was about average for a studio flat. He said during 15 years renting it out there had been no negative feedback.

The original tweet about the property received over 200 likes.

Supplied/Twitter

The original tweet about the property received over 200 likes.

“We have had previous tenants – couples – who have left this flat, move to another city, then move back to Wellington and asked if the flat was available to move back into,” he said.

He said about 80 per cent of applications would have a rental CV with photo ID and rental references, and asking for this information was common practice.

A converted Wellingtonian

Sarah Bickerton has found flat hunting far easier in Auckland compared to Wellington.

LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff

Sarah Bickerton has found flat hunting far easier in Auckland compared to Wellington.

Bickerton lived in the capital for a decade before moving to Auckland in 2020, and she said the renting options in New Zealand’s biggest cities were far better.

She was currently living in a studio on the edge of Myers Park in the heart of Auckland, and in February would move to a new apartment on Union St, which she said cost less than the Wellington bedsit.

“I’ve got an in-unit washer and dryer, I’ve got wood floors, I’ve a view that looks out over Ponsonby and Grey Lynn, I’ve got a rainfall shower in the bathroom.” she says.

Bickerton said there wasn’t a remote chance she would find a comparable apartment in Wellington for the same price.

Sarah Bickerton’s currently apartment has a nice spot overlooking Myers Park in central Auckland.

LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff

Sarah Bickerton’s currently apartment has a nice spot overlooking Myers Park in central Auckland.

Bickerton said the offerings might be particularly good in Auckland because of the absence of international students, workers and holidaymakers, but the greater number of apartments meant you generally got more bang for your buck.

Stuff compared what kind of one-bedroom apartments you could get around the country – all one-bedroom, all central city, all advertised at $420 per week.

Christchurch

This Christchurch studio costs $420 a week, and is located in the city centre.

Supplied

This Christchurch studio costs $420 a week, and is located in the city centre.

The South Island’s largest city is increasingly attractive for its comparably-cheap house prices, and the rental situation seems to follow a similar thread.

On Trade Me, there are multiple modern apartments in the city centre, including this one on Madras St.

The studio was built a couple of years ago, the property manager says.

Supplied

The studio was built a couple of years ago, the property manager says.

The flat comes unfurnished, has a separate bedroom, and enough space for a couch, TV, and small seating area inside the open-plan kitchen.

The agent for the property, John Lee, said the building was about two years old, usually was rented within 10 days, and was pretty representative of what you could get for $420 in the city.

The studio apartment also contains a modern bathroom.

Supplied

The studio apartment also contains a modern bathroom.

Dunedin

Looking in Dunedin, Stuff immediately found this one-bedroom furnished flat in the heart of the city for $420, which comes with the option of a secure car park for an additional $40 a week.

The flat is managed by Harcourts, and spokeswoman Sarah Warhurst said Dunedin had historically had a limited supply of apartments, so properties of this type were limited.

This apartment on Filleul Street in Dunedin's city centre is furnished and costs $420 a week.

Supplied

This apartment on Filleul Street in Dunedin’s city centre is furnished and costs $420 a week.

“The market has lifted considerably over the last two years so whilst the price point may have been a factor in previous years, I believe, based on market feedback, that Dunedin is no longer seen as “cheap” for accommodation,” she said.

It was a little easier to find a place at the moment, Warhurst said, because border closures meant fewer people competing for central apartments.

The property manager says one-bedroom apartments can be hard to find in Dunedin.

Supplied

The property manager says one-bedroom apartments can be hard to find in Dunedin.

A view of the outdoor area of the studio apartment.

Supplied

A view of the outdoor area of the studio apartment.

Auckland

In the heart of the city, a fairly typical offering is this flat advertised on Trade Me, located in the Waterloo Quadrant.

It may not be the most spacious, but its comes furnished, with access to the spa and gym in Quadrant Hotel, and free hotel Sky channels.

This apartment on Waterloo Quadrant, City Centre, Auckland City, is going for $420 a week.

Supplied

This apartment on Waterloo Quadrant, City Centre, Auckland City, is going for $420 a week.

It’s managed by Excella Property Rentals, and property manager Avant Ong said before Covid-19, the flat typically had a vacancy gap of fewer than five days, but it could take longer to rent now.

He said renters were usually working professionals, who took the flat for the convenient location.

Some central city apartments in Auckland come with gyms and pools.

Supplied

Some central city apartments in Auckland come with gyms and pools.

This apartment on Waterloo Quadrant also comes with free sky channels.

Supplied

This apartment on Waterloo Quadrant also comes with free sky channels.

Mapua

For those who have been driven further afield by the rental crisis, we looked at what was available around Nelson, and came across this furnished studio.

A few minutes walk from shops, a nice outdoor area, and with water, fibre internet and Netflix included, it might have enough to tempt some city-dwellers who are able to work remotely.

This studio on Aranui Rd in Mapua is fully furnished and costs $420 a week.

Supplied

This studio on Aranui Rd in Mapua is fully furnished and costs $420 a week.

The owner, Fernando Hurtado, said the only drawback of the place was you had to cook outside – not such a problem in summer, but a drawback in winter.

In the past, Hurtado said the studio was used for short term rent during the holiday season, but with Covid it was more often rented long-term. It’s a couple of minutes from the pretty Mapua wharf.

The only drawback of the Mapua property is that most cooking has to be done outdoors.

Supplied

The only drawback of the Mapua property is that most cooking has to be done outdoors.

The studio is a couple of minutes from the Mapua wharf.

Supplied

The studio is a couple of minutes from the Mapua wharf.

Wellington

For the same price as the bedsit, Wellington also has a handful of central-city studio apartments.

An example is this option on Trade Me, located on The Terrace. It’s fully furnished, has a washing machine and has a Juliet balcony.

This apartment on The Terrace is going for $420.

Supplied

This apartment on The Terrace is going for $420.

The property manager told Stuff the flat was popular with inner city professionals due to its proximity to the CBD.

Furnishings in the apartment include a 42-inch TV, panel heater and fan

Supplied

Furnishings in the apartment include a 42-inch TV, panel heater and fan

The flat also comes with a queen size bed.

Supplied

The flat also comes with a queen size bed.



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