Olly Crawford-Ellis’ feature on a group of Dunedin students’ bid to incentivise landlords to repair and maintain their properties generated a lot of discussion on social media about what young people in particular are expected to put up with from their housing.
Using the hashtag #characterbuildings, we asked you to share your flatting horror stories with us on Twitter – and, honestly, it was worse than we could ever have imagined, with the hardships ranging from the gross (slugs, mostly) to the structurally unsound (holes in the walls and floors). Here are a selection of our favourites.
If you don't think the state of New Zealand's rental properties is an issue that needs addressing, check out #characterbuildings— Paul Harper (@pauljmharper) September 23, 2014
Property managers wouldn't deal with a caterpillar infestation in case they were "native caterpillars". There are none. #characterbuildings— Electric Mistress (@ColeyTangerina) September 23, 2014
Even vermin couldn't hack it - when a long-delayed clean-up of kitchen found a dozen baby mice corpses in a cupboard. #characterbuildings— Matt Nippert (@MattNippert) September 23, 2014
A friend left another flat unlivable after stealing a beehive wrapped in gladwrap, then releasing angry swarm inside #characterbuildings— Simon Day (@simondangerday) September 23, 2014
We hung plastic rubbish bags on hangers in the wardrobe to try and keep water from the wall soaking into our clothes #characterbuildings— Tamara (@cloche_hat) September 23, 2014
Terrible mould-induced eczema around my eyes that cleared up as soon as I moved out of my 2nd year flat #characterbuildings— Emma Emma (@k_emma_) September 23, 2014
Property had been built out of the sunlight by the house next door. When there was a frost, the shampoo sometimes froze. #characterbuildings— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) September 23, 2014
Threw out grease-soaked newspaper on top of kitchen cupboards when moving in this year. Paper from 2003 #characterbuildings— Jess(ica) F (@jeffica_) September 23, 2014
Wetas crawling through gap between floor and wall and climbing onto on my pillow. #characterbuildings Aro Valley represent!— Steph (@matukus) September 23, 2014
That time I found a live hedgehog in the pot cupboard. #characterbuildings— Katie Johnston (@katieajohnston) September 23, 2014
Left car in uncle's garage for 3 weeks while away, rats ate all rubber seals around windows and one died in heater #characterbuildings— S.J. Wright (@SStringerWright) September 23, 2014
So cold used to sleep in balaclava. Girlfriend woke one night & for split second thought I was an intruder #characterbuildings— Rob Hosking (@robhosking) September 23, 2014
My 1st flat was so rat infested that they'd climb up and eat from the pot on the stove while you were cooking dinner. #characterbuildings— Giselle Clarkson (@giselledraws) September 23, 2014
2013: Walls were malleable enough to leave handprints in. Rats' nest above the shower and chronic sinus issues, too #characterbuildings— Giancarlo (@louderthoughts) September 23, 2014
There will always be those who look to co-opt a hashtag...
In one flat we found basement full of dope and then drug lords tried to kill us. No, wait, that was the movie Scarfies. #characterbuildings— Dovil (@Dovil) September 23, 2014
No under-floor heating in the 3-car garage. #characterbuildings— Perfect Mike Hosking (@MikePerfectHosk) September 23, 2014
The wine cellar didn't have built-in storage for magnums. #characterbuildings— Perfect Mike Hosking (@MikePerfectHosk) September 23, 2014
...those who chose to look on the bright side.
Wow, #characterbuildings is making all my damp, cold, miserable flats seem good by comparison.— Nicola Kean (@nkean) September 23, 2014
Never having to get up and go to the fridge for a cold one - the perks of #characterbuildings— Matt Paterson (@mjtpaterson) September 23, 2014
The help's entrance to the house was blocked and they had to use the main entrance and were seen by the guests #characterbuildings— The Ruminator (@RuminatorNZ) September 23, 2014
...and then there are those for whom the nightmare’s not over :(
everyone's stories are in past tense, jealous #characterbuildings— Stevie Jepson (@steviejnz) September 23, 2014
Check out the rest on Twitter.