$400 Wellington property listing demands flatmate leave house six hours a day

A $400 per week flatshare in Wellington is being described as "awful" by renting advocates, as the existing flatmate won't allow any potential roommate to be there during the daylight hours.

The listing for the 22sqm bedroom at the top of Cuba St strictly specifies any flatmate would be "a matured professional" - who is almost never home.

"I use this space for my personal purposes ONLY during the day between 9 am 3 pm Mon to Friday and that needs to remain exclusively for my use."

The flatmate would also never touch the desk in the bedroom as this is for the existing flatmate’s use "ONLY".

"I am in my fifties and have my own businesses­. I act my age and expect others to do the same!" the listing reads. 

On top of the $400 price tag, the laundry in the building is coin-operated. 

Renters United spokesperson Geordie Rogers says the listing is "awful".

"It does demonstrate how bad the situation has gotten. It's not just a housing crisis but a human rights crisis. On the surface, it looks like a decent home but it's nowhere near that."

Steve Watson, the national manager of tenancy compliance and investigations for Tenancy Services, told Newshub the situation is not against the law.

$400 Wellington property listing demands flatmate leave house six hours a day
Photo credit: Trade Me

"On first look at the advertisement online, it looks like this is for a flatmate (rather than a tenant), so wouldn’t be covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) only covers tenants and landlords, not flatmates."

Rogers says this gap in the Act is part of the problem.

"We have been lobbying to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE)to get people in these situations the same protections renters do - we do see a lot of these situations coming up."

But as far as he can see - there's been no movement.

A spokesperson for Tenancy Services told Newshub MBIE is not responsible for drafting policy around housing.

"Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga - Ministry of Housing and Urban Development works with central and local government agencies to draft legal policies relating to tenancy. Tenancy Services has a duty to regulate the law and inform and educate the public on their rights as tenants and landlords but does not write tenancy policy."

A screenshot of the listing was shared to social media, where Wellingtonians were outraged.

"So the guy wants free office space and is trying to make money. Surely a single studio like that should only be like $300-$350 pw," wrote one person.

"I would expect with renting out your home office there would be some sort of $$ deal. I mean $100 pw might be ok for this weird arrangement but $400 f**k away off," said another.

The flat is listed at slightly above the lower median market rent for the area, which sits at $360 per week for a single bedroom.

Newshub has attempted to contact the original poster but did not receive a response by the time of publication.