I haven’t had that much to think about over the holidays. Thinking isn’t a holiday task, but my brain has also been filled with the numbness of some strand of flu. In my flu-like delusion I often thought to myself: “I have never lived in a place this cold”. Later I found I’d lost the flu but kept the thoughts.
Let’s be honest, how do we live in such terrible conditions? People are wrong to think it is a ‘scarfie’ experience to live in such dreary conditions. I mean that we are able to is a feat in itself, but how can landlords get away with it? The funny thing is, I don’t even know my landlord but local legend says he owns around 70 flats in the city. A property manager is in charge of them. I can imagine them all being as cold, drafty and rickety as mine. Moreover, they are all probably as old as mine. Now, think about it, what do landlords do? Nothing. Trawl through the socialism when I say they have no right to treat us like they do, they either inherited or exploited money and now they keep on exploiting us students. My landlord last year, who rented out a cold hole in the centre of town, literally lived in Chicago half the year and cruised (in a real cruise ship!) to and from Dunedin, living in a perpetual summer. He told us this while we were signing the lease as if it were a normal way to lead a life. Meanwhile my flat had no heating. My flat this year has no heating either and there is a cold draft that runs through the corridor as if this were Siberia.
When I asked my property manager whether she would get some heating for us, she told us we should buy our own heaters. This is illegal.
We live in conditions they would not leave their kids in, and a small guess tells me the average landlord income per flat per month is close to $2000, with very few costs attached. Yet I have to pay for heating? There is something clearly wrong here in Dunedin, where landlords can get away with contracted theft, where they earn through exploitation, and where they could get money from the government if they decided they wanted to give some heating for the houses. I believe this ransacking should not be allowed, and I think it is the University’s and OUSA’s job to make sure it stops happening.
Last year the cry of O-c-c-u-p-y was heard across the city, this year we should take heed and take on non-violent action to have our voices heard.