Auckland, you know you've got a problem with your rental market when landlords start telling tenants they have to move out each weekend.
It's a landlord's right to be picky. If it was my house, I'd be picky. I'd discriminate the bejesus out of all students, single men and anyone with visible tattoos. You know what those kinds of people do. They have fun. In your house.
But, it's a whole other level of fussy to be telling tenants the house is only available Monday to Friday.
Trade Me gives landlords the privilege of specifying their ideal tenant. That's where this particular landlord - who lives underneath the house - made a strong case for virtually no one ever moving in. This landlord's ideal tenant "lives somewhere else weekends".
Right. Because renting in Auckland's so damned cheap, it's completely reasonable to expect the tenant to keep a weekend house too.
If things don't go my way shortly I am going to end up moving into this picky person's property. Or back in with my mum.
It turns out everything you've heard about Auckland's property market is true. But it's not just buying a house that's hard. It's renting, too. And it's not just the cost or the size, but the speed with which you need to move to get into a place.
My problems started when - arse about face - I agreed to a job in Auckland before first securing myself a home in the city. Then, I made the rookie mistake of finding the perfect place but prioritising morning tea over calling the agent to organise a viewing time.
And by the way - I've since learned - you don't call the agent to organise a time to view a property at your convenience. The agent organises the viewing. They usually pick a work-hours time like midday on a Monday and you've only got 45 minutes to get there because you chose to have your morning tea.
You have no choice but to turn up at midday on Monday because the house won't be available in an hour. One of the hordes of other prospective tenants who turned up 10 minutes early for the viewing will file an application as soon as they get back into their car.
I can't tell you the number of houses and apartments I've missed out on. Some places went even though I had an appointment to look at them. Some agents just stopped answering their phones. Often, the viewing was in 10 minutes and I'd only just seen the ad online.
I know I'm lucky to be able to look at places within walking distance of the office instead of halfway down the motorway, or to be able to say 50m sq is too small for two people, or say no to a damp house.
But if it's this hard to find a home, it's no wonder some people have no choice but to live in damp, uninsulated houses. Eventually, you just run out of options in your price range.
So to the Government, thumbs up for the new rules forcing landlords to insulate rentals. But don't let the landlords put up their prices to pay for it. Because, in the end, that's money that comes out of a family's food budget or petrol budget or Christmas presents budget. And speaking from experience, it's not as easy as finding another rental just because yours went up in price.
By the way, I still haven't found a place to live. The Trade Me ad for the "lives somewhere else weekends" house has disappeared, so someone else got desperate first.