housing worries

I can’t quite find the right image here – but I can direct you to the Otago Daily Times competition for best and worst student flats.

I recently had cause to visit nieces and nephews in flats. Not really student flats but dingy, dark and moldy flats in one of the oldest parts of Wellington. Specifically the vicinity of Tasman/Hansen Streets.

I guess it’s been a while since I thought about student accommodation and definitely a while since living in the $3.00 a week squalor that we loved in Ponsonby. I can still see the look of horror on my parents’ faces when they visited.

I suppose now that I am about the same age (actually older than they were then) that same look crosses my face when I visit the niece and nephew (in different flats) and a boarding house.

What do I see?

Unlined walls. Moldy external walls. Mess and junk over the back yard (that could easily be cleaned). Bare concrete floors (inside). Toilets that are stuck behind the kitchen and only half walled. Old shabby curtains. Electric wires half hanging off the ceiling (a smoke alarm perhaps?). Shabby unpainted walls. An overall sense of mold, dampness, cold and uninsulated walls.

So I am pleased that the government has legislated for all rental properties to be insulated within 2 years but……

The awful thing is that I suspect it is not only student flats that are like this. Indeed a rental property I visited in my community had the same sad, cold air about it and four children living there.

I just can’t help feeling that these conditions are appalling, that landlords and boarding house owners could care more – but I guess if they get the rent why should they? And from experience of course I know that tenants can be um unfortunate in their behaviours shall we say?

Perhaps a photo of Philippa Howden-Chapman might be appropriate. She researches and lobbies on the relationship between poor housing and poor health.

Radio NZ Philippa Howden-Chapman
Radio NZ Philippa Howden-Chapman
There you are. Great woman. We should listen to her and you can on Radio NZ.


One thought on “housing worries

  1. A friend just returned from Dunedin where he stayed in his daughter’s student flat. It sounds very much like the one that you describe but the students were the ones making it so. Food and beer cans everywhere etc, it was a pigsty bordering on a health risk. It was an old house and bitterly cold, also as you describe, but it had a heat pump provided by the landlord. They simply didn’t turn it on because of the cost of power.

    A landlord friend expects that to be the case with low income tenants everywhere. It’s all very well to expect landlords to provide $2000 to $3000 heat pumps but if electricity is seen as too expensive to run them then perhaps it’s better to focus on insulation.


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