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Tuesday, 24 April 2018 04:05 pm

Renters in for a hell of a time in coming months and years

Feb 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

The Salvation Army report spells bad news for wages and rents.

There is “not a hope in Hades” of tenants affording recent rent rises, a Citizen’s Advice Bureau spokesperson says.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army is warning of more homeless people in the next two years due to the plight of renters.

Citizen’s Advice Bureau Wellington city manager Audrey Fell-Smith says many tenants are facing landlords declining to renew leases, selling the properties, or dramatic rent rises.

“I suspect, come the end of this month when all the students are back, that we’re going to have people just sleeping on the streets, in people’s garages again, couch surfing.

“I actually dread to think how things are going to be in two weeks’ time.”

The Salvation Army’s annual State of the Nation report says there are slim-pickings in the housing market, unless you are a property investor.

Report author Alan Johnson says the immediate rental outlook is not good.

“It seems likely that rents will rise further and homelessness will increase at least over the next one to two years.”

Wages are also struggling to keep pace with rents. New Zealanders had to work 13 hours at the average hourly wage to pay the average rent during 2017.

This was steady from 2016, and contrasts with a 2015 figure of 12.4 hours and 11.9 from 2012.

Rents across New Zealand have risen by 15% to 20% between 2013 and 2017.

Meanwhile, average weekly incomes rose by just 10%, in nominal terms, the report says.

New Zealand’s economy grew by around 2.7% as of September 2017, but wage growth is missing out.

The average weekly wage reached $1012 in December 2017, just 1% higher than a year before, when adjusted for inflation.

The report reflects the issues many people are having with wages and rents.

One renter spoken to by NewsWire has found it difficult moving flats during this high demand period.

“I think it’s been really bad luck that we’ve had to all relocate at a peak time,” says the man, who declined to be named.

He says someone he knew was asked on a tenancy application form to show how much extra in rent they were willing to pay.

“I’m not sure if this is legal but I definitely think someone should look into common people being exploited like that.”

A spokesperson for Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson says over 100 people have been in touch about rental difficulties over the last few months.

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