Tenants gaining upper hand in Queenstown as landlords cut rents

Tenants are starting to gain the upper hand in tourist hotspots like Queenstown as a flood of properties hit the market.

Faced with the prospect of empty houses, many landlords are cutting rents or ditching Airbnb in favour of long-term tenants.

The property and rental market has been flipped on its head overnight. Property prices nationwide are forecast to drop by around 10 percent.

And now a flood of former Airbnb properties is putting pressure on rent prices in Queenstown.

"So in a situation where demand is suppressed, landlords are having to reduce their rents to meet the market and keep their homes full," says independent economist Benje Patterson.

Many are dropping rents by 30 percent or more to retain tenants and get some cash flow.

"So you've got to weigh up the fact that is it better to keep a tenant in there and take the loss, or carry on with the costs with nobody?" says Queenstown landlord John Fenton.

"And I mean the reality is, it's better to take the hit."

Many are tenants who worked in hospitality or tourism, and are grateful for the relief.

"The rent reduction obviously is a great help. It allows us to still pay our bills, pay the groceries and sustain ourselves," says Queenstown renter Vera Shlapatckaia.

Harcourts Property Management has seen more than eight out of 10 landlords offering rent discounts or support to tenants.

An increase in available rentals is providing plenty of choice and competition.

"And they'll have a lot more in the way of options around warm, well-insulated, good quality houses in good locations as well for pretty sharp prices," says Paul Hibbett from Harcourts Property Management Queenstown.

Queenstown -  the hardest hit, with another wave of properties tipped to hit the market when the wage subsidies and mortgage holidays expire.