An Auckland teacher says she is what some people call "an evil property investor" but has spoken out about sacrifices she made to buy properties, staying in one house without a kitchen during a freezing winter, its roof partially demolished, sleeping on an airbed.
Sian Draper, of Auckland, told of her difficulties buying, initially in Christchurch where she renovated a rundown 100-year-old worker's cottage, paying off enough of the mortgage so she could sell and buy a two-bedroomed Auckland flat, then move on to a third property.
"I slept at the house on an airbed with no kitchen over a freezing winter with no ceiling in the main part of the house, showering in a bathroom with no door and missing a third of its walls. The only heating was a small oil column heater in the bedroom," Draper said.
"The public seem to think that because I am a property investor, I have wads of cash for designer goods that I, being evil and greedy, have practically stolen from hardworking Kiwis and that I drive around in a BMW.
"I make much of my own clothing, grow fruit and vegetables and drive a 1994 Toyota. I have no Sky or Netflix, no unlimited broadband, no smartphone and do not rush out to buy gadgets I don't really need. I have an investment property because I sacrificed and live frugally."
Robert Whitaker, from Renters United, expressed empathy for her: "It's indicative somewhat of the affordability crisis that people who want to buy a house have to push the boat out so far and have to go to such extraordinary lengths."
Draper showed before-and after-pictures of her rental property in a provincial town out of Auckland where she renovated a house.
"Yet according to some people's views, I am over-privileged, born with a silver spoon in my mouth and I should give a good chunk of what I have achieved to those who have done nothing to earn it. They weren't there when I was shivering in that open shower, putting the umpteenth barrow load of rubbish into the skip or wondering how I was going to pay the electrician's bill.
"I am a decent, hard-working Kiwi and this is my fair share because I put so much hard graft into it. I created an income-producing asset that will be paying into the tax pool from the earnings from it, for many years to come. How is that not paying my fair share?" Draper asked.
"Last year, I was able to borrow against that to get an extremely rundown deceased estate in a provincial town. It was three hours' drive away and had been on the market for 18 months. For nearly a year, I put all of my time, energy and money into that house," Draper wrote.
Whitaker said: "Good on her. There needs to be landlords and it's no issue that she's a landlord."
But the fact that she bought and sold property was part of the issue, he said, because tenants needed long-term stability.
"People want to live in rental property long-term. That's what the problem is. It's all about short-term gain," Whitaker said.
Draper said that on Fridays, after teaching, nannying and tutoring during the week, she drove to the house and spent weekends "demolishing, filling skips, mowing lawns, patching holes, gibbing, gib stopping, sanding, painting, scraping and polishing floors, ripping up carpets, vinyls, tiles, weeding, waterblasting, tiling, assembling kitchen cabinets, landscaping, fitting mouldings, crawling under the house, installing insulation, making and hanging curtains and blinds, pulling up carpet tacks and trimming hedges".
She would arrive in Auckland at 10-11pm on Sunday nights, ready for the next working week.
"Every penny I had went towards paying the mortgage, renovation materials and tradespeople for the jobs I couldn't do myself, putting money into the local economy," she said.
"I had no life for a year. No going out to have fun, no holidays, no nothing. My health suffered. The stress was incredible as a few times, due to delays, I thought that I was going to lose it all, as my ability to keep paying the mortgage was going to finish before the house was habitable. For the sake of about $5000, I thought I was going to end up at a mortgagee auction.
"I took an unwanted, dilapidated mess of a house and turned it onto something that will contribute to the economy. I literally put blood, sweat and tears into it. And you know what? I deserve the fruits of it. I have more than earned any profits from it."