Whanganui tenants are continuing to feel the pinch as house prices rise, prompting more and more sales that are forcing them out of their homes.

Niki Wiggins was renting a property in Gonville for five years, but over the new year period she received a notice that a few tenants have been getting lately.

Her time was up. The house was going on the market and she had 90 days to find a new home, pack her things and get out. If only it were that easy.

"I've been looking everywhere and I mean everywhere, through real estate, private homes, friends, friends of friends and I've found nothing," Wiggins said.


"I'm absolutely desperate, I've only got until the end of March to get out. That isn't far away."

Wiggins, 32, is a solo mum to two children aged three and nine months old.

She tried contacting Work and Income for emergency housing, but was told that is for people that are already out of a home.

She has checked local real estate agencies including Ray White, Landlords Link and Property Brokers for rentals and checks Trade Me almost hourly.

After applying to rent a home through one local agency, Wiggins received an email informing her that the home already been tenanted, so she gave them a call.

"I asked why I didn't get accepted and it was because they were looking for an elderly couple. That's discrimination right there," Wiggins said.

"Based on my name as well, they asked me if I was Māori. The landlord asked them to ask me if I was Māori. Of course I'm Māori, I can't change that.

"It just stumped me. I had nothing to say. I've been through so much grief trying to find a place, this was my last resort."


In December last year, the Whanganui Chronicle reported Whanganui housing is heading to a crisis point and not just in terms of the rental market.

A Housing Snapshot Report compiled by Safer Whanganui found an increase in the number of people needing social and emergency housing in Whanganui.

The Housing New Zealand waiting list has trebled in just two years from 22 to 87 households.

Wiggins is one of a number of residents to reach out for help with a rental, including Melissa Walsh and Christine Hopkins in 2018.

Wiggins is a cafe assistant and said her job circumstances are also working against her.

"Nobody will touch me because I'm not working full time, I'm working part time. I looked at a house today and asked the real estate worker what the landlords are looking for.

"She said they're looking at references, whether you've been taken to the tribunal and whether you owe money. I have glowing references, have not been to the tribunal and a credit check's not a problem."

Wiggins noticed that most properties advertised have a strict no pets policy, so she has even arranged for someone to take her six-year-old dog Ruthless from her.

In April 2018 it was announced that the asking price for a Whanganui property rose 7.8 per cent, making Manawatū-Whanganui the second-fastest growing region in New Zealand.

This announcement followed one in January stating that the River City's population had increased by 700 people, making the district total 44,500, the largest it had been in 18 years.

It was also the biggest influx Whanganui had since population changes were first recorded in 1996.

2018 also welcomed the announcement of nine new two-bedroom state houses to be built in Whanganui, taking the city to a total of 559 as at June 30. Just a few years before that there were 720.

Wiggins is looking for a three-bedroom property and can afford to pay $300-$350 for it.

As at Wednesday Trade Me had four three-bedroom rental properties advertised, three of which fall into Wiggins' price range, but as many as 40 people have been applying for one rental property in Whanganui.

OneRoof had two listings. One of which is in her price range.



Wiggins just wants a chance.

"We need a chance at least. You don't know what a person's like until you give them a chance," she says.

"I have no family here, the closest family I have are in Palmerston North. I'm doing it on my own and it's pretty hard."