Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Renters TV show reflects grim reality, says property investors' leader

David Whitburn. Photo / Supplied
David Whitburn. Photo / Supplied

The head of Auckland's main landlord group says TV2's Sunday night Renters reflects reality.

David Whitburn, Auckland Property Investors Association president, said members watched the high-rating series because they had so much at stake and it showed a particularly grim side of being a landlord.

"It's not a good ad for the property investment industry because it gives the impression your property is going to get trashed," he said.

But the show does reflect reality, he said, and he knows that from experience.

He had abandoned renting out and managing houses in South Auckland because they caused him so many problems.

He had places in Manurewa and Clendon Park but he sold up because of tenant issues.

His top-renter in Remuera's Upland Rd now fetches almost $1000 a week in the city's double grammar zone area.

Whitburn cited one particularly difficult situation in Christmas Rd, Manurewa, where he said a renter in one of his properties forced his partner's head through a panel door.

Whitburn said he and his wife were forced to clean up houses left filthy and deliberately damaged by tenants and he no longer had time for such people or properties.

"I realigned my portfolio because I didn't want to invest in the bottom one and two decile housing areas," he said.

TV2's series was reflecting reality.

"A lot of people don't care about a property," Whitburn said.

Episodes of the series show tenants hoarding goods and causing problems in neighbourhoods.

One show was promoted as: "Richard heads to the Hutt Valley to inspect a house vacated by a machete-wielding renter."

Property managers are featured dealing with abandoned pets, vicious dogs, backyards filled with rubbish, supervising huge clean-ups after tenants have left without paying rent, discovering filthy kitchens - the stove is seen as a bellwether of cleanliness - mouldy furnishings, clothing left behind and disposing of tenants' possessions.

A dingy backyard party zone causes problems for one property manager in Dunedin.

Another was filmed in a distraught state over a mess left behind by the former tenant and a third manager had a tenant who disappeared.

Sloppy students in a Parnell flat, property inspections promoted as beggaring belief, an eviction in Epsom, managers dealing with weeks of unpaid rent and "filthy grottos" have all been depicted in Renters.

A TVNZ spokesperson said the show was fair and balanced.

"It is one of the top 10 TV2 shows. We are currently broadcasting season four of the series and there are 10 episodes in total. We cannot confirm further series at this stage," the spokesperson said.

Helen Gatoyni, Tenants Protection Association manager in Christchurch, last week criticised the series because she said it showed tenants in a poor light and left viewers with a bad impression without showing the other side of the story.

- NZ Herald

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