The two-bedroom unit at Amisfield Motel as advertised on Trade Me.
If you were paying $770 a week to rent a small unit you might at least expect a harbour view.
But in Tokoroa, it will get you a basic two-bedroom furnished motel unit with semi-rural views towards a neighbouring school.
The Trade Me listing, posted by am659, said the two bedroom unit, which can house up to six people, has “all you need for a home”.
The listing, which has since been removed, states the ideal tenants would be those needing emergency housing.
Stuff has discovered that the unit offered for rent is located in the Amisfield Motel in Lochmaben Rd, though that was not mentioned in the listing.
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) confirmed it’s one of its emergency housing providers.
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The high asking price comes amid a major shortage of rentals in the South Waikato which has the region’s fastest rising house prices outside Hamilton City. Despite the shortage, three bedroom rentals in the town average at around $400 a week.
When contacted by Stuff am659, who did not reveal his identity, defended the figure.
“It is for emergency housing. Some people in need can be supported by Work and Income,” he said.
When asked if he had had any enquires he paused before saying “sometimes” and hung up.
Emergency Housing is supplied through an Emergency Housing Special Needs Grant (EH SNG), paid on behalf of the client to a supplier of commercial accommodation.
Nationwide in the quarter ending September 30, 2020 $83 million was paid out. In the South Waikato $203,423 was granted.
MSD Bay of Plenty regional director Kim Going supported the sum being paid.
“When people with no other option come to us with an urgent need for housing, our role is to ensure they are supported into emergency housing as quickly as possible – usually in motels. We occasionally use Amisfield Motel in Tokoroa as accommodation for our clients,” she said.
“While comparing motel prices to private rentals, it is important to note the additional services that motels provide. This reflects the fact that motels are fully furnished, include utilities and maintenance costs as well as bedding, cleaning and other services – this enables clients in emergency need to move in immediately.
“Payments to moteliers are also driven by supply and demand.”
But Waikato Real Estate Ltd Putaruru property manager, who oversees several properties in Tokoroa, was shocked by the price.
“I have got half a dozen houses in Tokoroa at the moment. I have just rented out one which is a beautiful three bedroom unit, like new inside, for $345,” she said.
“[The supply] is very tight and when I get news ones on board they go that quickly but who is going to pay that?
“You can get a very nice and tidy three-bedroom house for around $430-$450 so it does seem a lot.”
She said the demand for rentals was forever increasing.
“We are getting to be a very popular area and I am getting more enquiries than ever,” she said.
“I am always looking for houses. There is only so much you can do at the end of the day.”
Going said MSD was offering a range of support to clients in such accommodation.
“To further assist clients staying in emergency housing, housing brokers were introduced last year as part of the Government’s Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan,” she said.
“Housing brokers help clients in emergency housing or on the Housing Register overcome any perceived barriers by increasing connections and confidence with local landlords, property managers and the private rental market. They also match clients with suitable housing.
“MSD also funds a training course called Ready to Rent…[which] helps to equip clients in emergency or insecure housing with the skills and confidence to gain and sustain private rental housing.”
She said she was unaware of any other moteliers advertising their rooms on Trade Me’s rental property section.