June, 2022A rental supply shortage is starting to bite in Queenstown.
As the resort readies for whats touted to be a booming winter, long-
sought seasonal staff are struggling to find digs.
Seasonal worker Maya Lewis tells Mountain Scene she and her partner
and two friends have been looking for a three-bedroom house to rent
for about two months.
Theyve applied for more than 20 houses, and havent found one yet.
Lewis: Its been super-competitive.
Ive been trawling through Trade Me, Facebook groups, [and] real
estate websites, applying.
Weve applied pretty much immediately after the house has been
posted as a rental, and I normally wouldnt hear back for a week or so,
[then] getting an email saying it was already under application.
The groups moving from Takaka, Golden Bay, which means at present
they cant view rentals in person.
Most [rentals] have said they wont even consider you if they havent
met you yet, she says.
To increase the chances of securing a place, Lewis has offered larger
bonds, to pay more rent and have FaceTime interviews, but that hasnt
helped their plight.
She says the groups current plan is to stay at a hostel hopefully for a
week or so which will cost about $200 a week each so they can
physically look for a house.
Lewis, whos working for NZSki this season, is hoping to find a more
permanent home before she starts work in a couple of weeks, given
shell be on the mountain from early morning till 5pm, making in-person
It seems crazy that a Kiwi that has a job with NZSki, [in] maybe one of
the biggest industries in Queenstown over winter, cant even find a
place to live, Lewis says.
NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson says he understands its been
harder this year for mountain staff to find accommodation.
He suspects though isnt certain thats partly to do with the number
of properties returning to Airbnb, having been used by long-term renters
over the past couple of years.
Where people choose to put their vacant rooms or vacant homes does
have an impact on the amount of stock thats available for ski workers,
The other impact, and were not sure of this, but were wondering if
some of the new tenancy rules have meant that some landlords have
withdrawn some homes from the market, Anderson says.
Hes referring to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020, which
came into force last
year, and, in particular, tighter requirements for ending a periodic
To help ease rental woes for their staff, NZSkis offered some
accommodation in their company-owned housing, off Gorge Road.
Anderson says theyve also been reaching out to the community, as they
do every year, hoping to find people with spare rooms wanting some
extra income over winter.
Weve had a pretty solid res ponse from the community & its [also] an
opportunity for our staff to stay with a family while theyre in
He says NZSkis also looking at some backpackers hostels around town
which are yet to reopen.
We think it is going to be busy, so itll be worth their while reopening,
but obviously thats up to the individual hostel owners, Anderson says.
Source: Mountain Scene
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