Student flats are being advertised on Facebook by private landlords requesting as much as $270 per room for a typical shared flat.
Facebook groups such as Otago Flatting Goods, Otago Buy Sell and Trade, and Dunedin Rentals have had private landlords advertising their properties for students at prices well above what StudyLink can provide. Five-bedroom properties have been listed at prices anywhere between $1050 per week to $1350 per week.
One five-bedroom property on Forth Street is being advertised by Bronwyn Jupp for $1050 per week, excluding power or internet bills, with a bond of $3150. This means each room would cost $210 per week, and have a bond coming in at a whopping $630 per room. If the typical student has the maximum student loan living costs of $239.76 per week, this leaves them $29.76 for their weekly bills, groceries, petrol and so on. Public have expressed their disappointment on these posts.
One person posted on Dunedin Buy Sell and Trade that they would “love to see the admins of this page delete all post[s] related to exploitative rent prices in Dunedin”. They went on to add that students need affordable housing, and “now [the landlords] want to charge 80% of the student allowance per room”.
Another person left a comment underneath a post by Jupp, stating that the pricing was “quite tight” and that they “hope [the landlord is] taking the size of your future tenants’ incomes into consideration when you’re deciding the rates, because it doesn’t seem like you are”.
Michael, a current student, came across the advertisement and was disgusted that people are charging that much for flats that aren’t studios, and some don’t include power or internet. He said it’s “daylight robbery” and that the landlords need to “fix it”. Michael private messaged Jupp and asked for reconsideration of rental prices, stating “most of your rooms are rented out at $210. Most students get $240. That would leave us with $30 for every expense for the week. You’re robbing students.” Jupp blocked his Facebook account.
When asked for comment on the pricing of private rental properties, another student Sara said that “at the end of the day, landlords can choose to rent it at whatever price they want” because they own the house. But she added that students can't afford to rent such expensive houses, therefore “landlords shouldn’t be trying to take advantage of students like this”.
Comments that have criticised landlords’ pricing are also being deleted off Facebook posts, and comments have been turned off also.
Bronwyn Jupp was approached for comment but did not respond.