Smarten up, landlords

By Cherie Taylor -

AFTER spending six weeks looking for a place to call home I have a few words for some landlords. In the words of Aussie DIYers, "You're dreaming mate - dreaming".

I find it hard to believe it has taken us so long to find the perfect place to settle into. Maybe we are fussy!

But it's never taken us so long before. Maybe it was because we long for a good bath to soak away those hours of hard work at the end of the day. Or maybe we just expect too much, like a nice home.

I'm sure about one thing though, some landlords need a shake up.

From unreasonable rental charges to places that need massive makeovers, we found it a few nail-biting weeks as we searched for a dwelling. In a city, you can expect to pay exorbitant rents but in a smaller town rents should be slightly cheaper.

That was one of the reasons for us deciding on moving to the mighty Wairarapa - that along with employment opportunities.

I can't believe what some landlords are asking, though.

One landlord, who showed us through more than two of her empty rental properties, left me gobsmacked. We were ready to sign for a two-bedroom property only a stone's throw from work when she explained we'd be facing an annual rent hike of $10 a week.

I don't think so, was my reply. Doesn't she realise this is why she has more than two empty homes? This person is losing thousands of dollars every month and the properties are still empty since we viewed them over a month ago.

I don't know many employees who are offered a $520 annual pay rise to meet such a rent increase. It's ludicrous. Our last rental we lived in for nearly four years - we never once faced a rent rise. Our landlord knew the value of good tenants and treated us as such.

Isn't it more economical to keep your good tenant than have to go through regularly searching for new ones? Isn't it better to be getting some money towards the mortgage rather than zilch?

And wouldn't it be better for security to have people living in your investment than it sitting empty for vandals to wreck? Honestly, if you want good hard-working tenants then you need to be a good landlord as well.

Good tenants are difficult to find and if you want them to stay then be fair. For us - we just can't wait to move into our new rental and make it our home for a very long time, thanks to our property manager.

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