'Madness' makes brothers give up flat hunt

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012
Alex-James Baguley
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
DISMAY: Alex-James Baguley at the house he rents with his younger brother. They gave up after a three-month quest for a new house.
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One prospective tenant has witnessed "rental madness" at viewings across Christchurch.

Alex-James Baguley, 28, has seen queues of people stretching to the road waiting to view a rental property, landlords raising the rent by $50 during viewings and some would-be tenants getting into bidding wars  at impromptu "rental auctions".

In Christchurch, rental prices have surged to an eight and a half-year high.

In the past three months he has viewed about 60 rental properties in the city, but to no avail.

Baguley and his 25-year-old brother, Greg, are two non-smoking professionals who are willing to pay up to $450 a week and are not too fussy about the location.

The only catch is their 10-year-old cat, Saffron.

"You'd think we would be able to get a place pretty easy, but it's been horrible,'' Baguley said.

''Just getting used to basically having to suck up to people to try to get a house and be turned down day after day because they have so many applications; I couldn't take it any more." 

The pair had been arriving at rental properties with up to 100 other prospective tenants and some $400 rental properties had been "foul, mouldy and dark". Others had been falsely advertised on Trade Me to have more bedrooms.

They had been left sitting outside a house for over an hour waiting for a property manager to arrive before he returned their calls to say the house had already been let.

"Some landlords have told me they can't cope with the amount of inquiries coming through and said they can't even take my name down," Baguley said.

"I've seen couples bidding at viewings. When you turn up it's advertised at $340 and then the rental auction pushes it up to almost $500, and at other places potential tenants have fliers saying 'Please take our family, we need a home', and we can't compete with that."

Baguley lives in a rental house in Sydenham but he and his brother had wanted to move into a fresh house. They have given up on the hunt and decided to stay put until the market "calms down".

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