Sick of landlord bashing? Go AirBnB.

Phil Twyford

A local real estate agent told me today that landlords are selling up in droves. She listed 3 properties from one landlord last week. He didn’t really want to sell, but living in a small town where rents are much lower than in Auckland or Wellington, he doesn’t have the $10,000 or so he is going to need to insulate his 3 rentals before July… and he’ll never recover the cost even if he does find the money. This is the reality for so many ‘rich prick’ landlords… and this decision was made before the latest announcements about heating and extractor fans. I’ll bet he’s glad he decided to sell.

Officials have warned the government though that landlords do have a choice with their rental properties. Rather than selling, and at least providing a home to a first time buyer, they have the option of renting them out on Air BnB, and circumventing most of the rules applying to rental properties. quote.

Officials are advising that landlords may choose to exit the rental market and opt to put their property on Airbnb as a result of new minimum rental standards.

They have also warned Housing Minister Phil Twyford that low-quality rental properties were more likely to be sold off, as it would be too expensive for landlords to comply with the rules.

Act leader David Seymour says it was concerning that, in the middle of a housing crisis, the Government had decided to make it harder for those providing housing.

Yesterday, Twyford announced that from 2021, all private rental homes would be required by law to have a heater that can heat a main living area to 18C.

Kitchens and bathrooms will be required to have extraction fans or range hoods and the minimum level of ceiling and underfloor insulation would need to be at least 120mm thick, or meet the 2008 Building code.

Twyford said this would cost the average three-bedroom home, which did not meet the standards, roughly $7000 to upgrade.

end quote.

Well, that landlord who listed his 3 properties last week has just saved himself a total of $31,000 or so… on properties where the average rent is less then $200 per week. quote.

Both National and landlord lobby groups were quick to say the new rules would end up meaning renters would pay more.

A regulatory impact statement (RIS), written by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, shows officials were warning Twyford this would be the case.

They point out that a property is more likely to be sold where the costs of retrofitting are large.

“Alternatively, some rental properties may be removed from use in long term accommodation altogether, and switched into short term accommodation, for example, Airbnb.”

A Newspaper. end quote.

Depending on where you live, this could be a good option. The new regulations on rental housing will not apply to Air BnB houses, as they are short stay rentals. The really good news is that the properties will not need to be rented out every night, but only in the tourist season, as the nightly rate is so much higher than for long term rentals. Yes, they have to be furnished to a good standard, and yes they will require cleaning, but with a saving of about $10,000 for each property just to meet government requirements, it is worth considering.

Renting a house for a short term stay is now the preferred way of travel, particularly for families. Most motels these days are either extremely tired or cramped, and hotels are expensive. Homestays are much preferred forms of holiday accommodation, and with the number of tourists that come to this country, accommodation is at a premium at the best of times.

It is only a matter of time, of course, before the government regulates short stay accommodation as well. But in the meantime, make hay while the sun shines, landlords. It has to be better than forking out $10,000 for each property between now and 2021 just because the government says so.