Rental housing crisis 'holding up quake rebuild'

1:22 pm on 19 March 2012

A rental housing crisis in Christchurch is holding up the earthquake-hit city's rebuild with virtually no short-term rentals available, according to the Real Estate Institute.

The institute has released a survey of its agents who manage 11,500 residential properties in the South Island city.

Christchurch regional director Tony McPherson says 66% of agents surveyed last week need to re-locate tenants so repairs to damaged homes can be carried out.

Mr McPherson says 41% of agents are finding it impossible to find alternative accommodation for tenants and homeowners who need a short-term place to stay, while 44% are finding it very difficult.

He says there is huge pressure on rental accommodation from people forced out of red-zoned properties and workers wanting to help with the rebuild.

The repair process will be ramped up in coming months but there are real concerns about where people will stay, he says.

Fears for young people

A social agency in Christchurch says the quakes have created a massive housing crisis which may force young people into dangerous living situations.

Youth and Cultural Development works with at-risk youth and helps to find rental accommodation for those leaving the care of Child, Youth and Family.

Manager Anni Watkin says the rental market was already tight before the quakes but the situation has worsened with about 21 bedsits in the inner-city and the eastern suburbs now uninhabitable.

Ms Watkin says the organisation has only placed one person. She is concerned that young people leaving care at the age of 17 will have nowhere to go and may find themselves in unsavoury and potentially unsafe situations.