Hawke’s Bay’s housing crisis: Would you rent a sleepout with no running water for $200 a week?

A sleepout at a house in Napier with no running water advertised for rent for $200 a week has been described as a symbol of Hawke’s Bay’s housing crisis.

What appears to be a converted garage or shed at a Dockery Avenue in Onekawa was listed for boarding on Facebook.

The listing drew some critical comments, but also plenty of support from people saying the room would at least provide a roof over someone’s head during the current housing and rental crisis.

Hawke’s Bay property manager Vicky Harris of Pukeko Rental Managers said the market would dictate whether anyone took up the room.

“However, I would say that it represents an under supply of accommodation if someone is happy living in a garage with no facilities,” she said.

Hawke’s Bay Properties property manager Dee Penno-Phillips recently told Radio New Zealand that the rental market had never been tighter in Napier.

“There is a real lack of rentals due to landlords coming back from overseas due to Covid. They might move into one and put their children into another. And now with the flooding, there is just no housing basically,” she said.

After looking at the listing description last week, Anna Mooney of Renters United said renters were having to compromise.

“This shows how the dire lack of rentals available and out of control rental prices are making tenants desperate, renters are having to take what they can get for what they can afford, the alternative is having nowhere to live,” she said.

“Also, many renters won’t be familiar with what the minimum legal requirements for a rental are. This is why we need minimum standards that rentals must comply with before they can be tenanted.”

The landlord that listed the Dockery Avenue property declined to comment.

According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, a situation where the landlord lives in the main house and a tenant lives in a separate sleepout and shares bathroom and kitchen facilities in the main house is a private boarding situation, not covered by the act.

However, landlords do have responsibilities under the act for Illegally converted garages or sheds.

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