Gisborne landlord changes rental listing excluding beneficiaries, children after discrimination backlash

A Gisborne landlord has changed their rental advert after furious backlash over them excluding beneficiaries and children. 

The two-bedroom home in Wainui is available for rent for $640 a week. It's described as a lovely, fully furnished cottage with absolutely everything. 

But it wasn't the amenities, such as access to a private paddock, that caught Kiwis' eyes. Instead, it was the ideal tenants' description that raised eyebrows. 

"No benifisheries [sic], no children, ideal tenants quiet working couple," the description read. 

This didn't go down well with Kiwis with many criticising the discriminatory listing.

"Report it, that's discrimination," one person said on social media platform Reddit. 

"No children, but comes furnished with bunk beds...." another person questioned 

"Christ lol," another simply added. 

"Discrimination so publicly. Wow," another person said.

While others took issue with the cost, suggesting it was overpriced. 

"What's f***ed even more is that they want $640 a week for some shed in a paddock. It's f***in Wainui lol," one said. 

"$640 for 2 bedrooms? That’s f***ing extortion! God our rental market needs regulation so badly!" another added. 

Many others decided to have a laugh, suggesting no "benifisheries" meant the owners didn't want it rented out by fish or keen fishers. 

"Not big seafood fans," one joked. 

"Benifisheries...Unemployed kaimoana?" Another suggested. 

"So, It's ok if you are on a benefit, but they have something against people who like going fishing? Must be something to do with the smell?" another joked. 

"If they catch you down at the local fish & chips, you're out," someone else added. 

The two-bedroom home in Wainui is available for rent for $640 a week
The two-bedroom home in Wainui is available for rent for $640 a week Photo credit: TradeMe

The Human Rights Commission said while it cannot comment on specific cases, it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on their family status. 

“Discrimination on the basis of family status is unlawful under both the Human Rights Act and the Residential Tenancies Act," the Commission said. 

"Family status discrimination is defined under the Human Rights Act as including 'having the responsibility for part-time care or full-time care of children'."

The Commission said if an ideal tenant is specified it should focus on personal qualities rather than stereotypes or any preconceived ideas.

"For example, vague images such as ‘professional or working couple’ may run the risk of being discriminatory on the grounds of employment and marital status. 

"Employment status includes people receiving a benefit. Landlords and property managers should outline the actual qualities they would prefer, rather than make assumptions based on stereotypes."

The Commission said tenants who believe they have been discriminated against can contact them or Tenancy Services for information or to lodge a complaint. 

When contacted by Newshub the owner said they excluded beneficiaries because they had trouble with a previous tenant. 

"We just had so much trouble with the last tenant costing us thousands of dollars," they told Newshub.

They said children were excluded because "it is a tiny home with stairs and a very small space, so it is suitable for two adult maximum (sic)."

They said it was a "simple mistake" and have now changed the listing. 

The new ideal tenants are described as a "quiet working professional couple (sic)".