Virtually no rental homes free in city

03:46, Mar 19 2012

Many tradesmen are having to repair Christchurch's earthquake-hit homes while tenants are still living in them as the city's rental housing drought bites, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand says.

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The institute surveyed its member property managers last week and found 66 per cent of the agents were trying to find month-long temporary accommodation for tenants while their houses were repaired.

The property managers, who together manage 11,500 rental houses, said there was virtually nothing available in the city.

About 40 per cent said it was impossible to relocate tenants and most were remaining in their home while it was fixed.

The remaining agents were finding it extremely difficult to find vacant accommodation.

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Real estate institute Canterbury director Tony McPherson said the repairs were in danger of being delayed and the problem was going to get worse as rebuilds were added to the repair work.

''There is huge pressure on rental accommodation in the city from people who have been forced out of the red zone, the large short-term work force in the city there to assist with the recovery, as well as the normal seasonal demand from tertiary students.''

Moteliers and other accommodation providers were becoming consistently full with displaced families rather than the usual numbers of tourists, which was affecting the business of other industries reliant on visitors spending money, he said.

McPherson said he understood temporary accommodation opened up by Government was fully occupied.

''There is a need for a circuit-breaker if the rebuild of homes is to be carried out efficiently. Without it, the rebuild is in jeopardy, causing further frustration, delay and unnecessary stress on Christchurch people, who now want to get on with their lives.''

He wanted more short-term rental accommodation to be set up by the Earthquake Commission (EQC) or the Department of Building and Housing, or other ideas to help house visiting tradesmen to relieve the pressure on the rental stock.

Even providing shipping containers to store belongings while work is being done would help enormously, he said.

The Press