Fam­i­lies feel rental squeeze

North Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - AMY BAKER

In­flated rental prices and re­stric­tions, such as not al­low­ing pets, are hav­ing a ‘‘ma­jor so­cial im­pact’’ on com­mu­ni­ties and even push­ing some res­i­dents out, renters say.

Glenn Scan­lon, who moved into a four-bed­room prop­erty with his fam­ily last week, said he was orig­i­nally look­ing to pay $850 or less per week, but strug­gled to find any­thing at that price.

The fam­ily was forced to ex­tend their search to more than $1000 per week, he said.

Re­cently re­turned from the United King­dom and need­ing to be in the area for his daugh­ters’ school­ing, Scan­lon said he looked at around 20-30 prop­er­ties in three weeks to find some­thing suit­able.

‘‘It blows my mind, you know, when peo­ple are ad­ver­tis­ing places for over $1000 a week, and you walk in and they’ve got stains in the car­pet.’’

Scan­lon said the com­bi­na­tion of high prices, poor con­di­tion of many rentals and land­lords’ re­stric­tions, such as no pets, made it even more dif­fi­cult. The fa­therof-three said de­cent, more af­ford­able prop­er­ties were like ‘‘find­ing a nee­dle in a haystack’’, and they could have up to six peo­ple ap­ply­ing for them.

They were only able to get into a higher-priced prop­erty by talk­ing down the ask­ing price by $150 a week.

He es­ti­mated around half the prop­er­ties he looked at were sit­ting va­cant be­cause the rental price was too high, which was to the ad­van­tage of nei­ther party, he said. He said he felt the ma­jor­ity of land­lords wanted it all - top price with min­i­mum risk and spend - and wanted them to con­sider the so­cial cost to renters.

‘‘They’ve now got a very im­por­tant po­si­tion in so­ci­ety, and I don’t think many of them look at it from that per­spec­tive.’’

From pay­ing al­most $500 a week for rent back in 2013, a West Har­bour mother-of-two, who prefers not to be named, said she was now hav­ing to ex­tend her rental bud­get to $650 a week for some­thing de­cent.

She said she had watched many in her com­mu­nity ‘pushed out’, es­pe­cially solo mums, as they could no longer af­ford to live in the area. Over­seas home buy­ers, who ei­ther moved in them­selves or put the rent up, were part of the cause, she be­lieved.

Af­ter mov­ing into her prop­erty five years ago, it be­came ap­par­ent it was leaky and had other struc­tural prob­lems.

AMY BAKER/STUFF

The Scan­lon fam­ily - Tara, 14, Orla, 17, Glenn and Viv - in their new Green­hithe rental. (Ab­sent: Eilis, 10.) Glenn said he wants land­lords to think about their role in so­ci­ety.

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