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16-05-2010

Greedy landlords on notice

NZ Herald

Landlords are being warned against kicking out tenants to make a quick buck from the Rugby World Cup.

Tenancy Protection Association co-ordinator Angela Maynard said she'd already been approached by worried renters living near tournament venues and advised them to sign a fixed-term lease.

That would mean they couldn't be evicted before the end of the term unless the landlord could prove financial hardship before the Tenancy Tribunal.

And Maynard said the tribunal would look unfavourably on landlords out to make a cash-grab.

"The adjudicator would throw them out. It's not a legitimate reason to break a tenancy."

Under a periodic lease, renters can be evicted with 90 days' notice for any reason.

Maynard said it wouldn't be clear how many landlords were considering the move until closer to the tournament, which starts in September next year.

"It will be interesting to see what happens around that time, if they start going onto periodic tenancies, which would be a bit suspicious."

New Zealand Property Investors Federation vice president Andrew King said some landlords would be considering the move - but warned they should think about the risks.

Tenants given 90 days' notice could choose to leave at any time within that period, possibly leaving owners with a vacant house months before the tournament. "You could lose money easily through that," he said.

King said he wouldn't move tenants out of his own Mt Eden rental property, but if they left before the cup, he might rent it on a fixed term that ended before the tournament.

Even then, he'd need to consider the extra costs, because rugby tourists would expect to be provided with furniture and wouldn't pay for power and water.

Auckland property manager Thomas Baseden said a "handful" of landlords who owned furnished properties had asked about ending their tenancies in time for the cup.

"It's like any kind of business situation, you'd be mad not to take advantage of what the market has to offer," he said.

But Baseden said furnished properties were a small percentage of the market, and expected most houses up for rent during the cup would be owners renting their own home.

Auckland Property Investors Association president Sue Tierney said she couldn't see why anyone would get rid of existing tenants, because the extra rent wouldn't be worth the risk of having an empty property.

"There's a lot more to think about than just getting a bit of quick cash."

Meanwhile, homeowners who rent their house to rugby fans may end up footing the bill for any unexpected damage.

Standard home and contents cover may not apply while the house is rented, said Chris Ryan, Insurance Council of New Zealand chief executive.

Homeowner puts holiday on his house

Danny Gelb won't be buying tickets to next year's Rugby World Cup - he's hoping the tournament will pay his way to Europe.

The Auckland man is planning to fund a holiday with his wife and three young children by renting out his luxury Orakei mansion for $15,000 a week.

"Missing out on the tournament for taking the kids to Europe for a month seems a small price to pay," he said.

Guests will have use of the five-bedroom house, swimming pool, spa, and Mercedes 7-series, and be looked after by a housekeeper, groundsman, chef, and corporate host services. A private driver will provide transfers to games.

At $428 a night per bedroom, Gelb said it wasn't a bad deal, and cheaper than luxury hotels.

"The $15,000 sounds a lot, but when you break it down it's not over the top."

There's already been interest from England, France and Spain but most people who've inquired want the house only for the final two weeks of the tournament.

Gelb said he was happy to hold out for someone keen to take the eight-week package.

"With such a long lead-in time to go, we're not wanting to jump at the first offers."

The mansion is among the pricier options for World Cup tourists.

Other rentals range from $1000 to $2800 a week.

heather.mccracken@hos.co.nz

Source: NZ Herald

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