Exhausting rental hunt for Tauranga mum

Candice Westnedgie, pictured with son Braxten, says she is at the point where she wants to give up lookng for a property to rent. Photo: Ursula Keay/SunLive.

A single mum from Tauranga still can’t find a place to call home, despite applying for more than 130 rental properties over the last few months.

Candice Westnedge, 30, says she is “beyond exhausted” after spending the past five months trying to secure a house for herself and her 15-month old son Braxten.

She was forced to leave her previous Welcome Bay rental in early January when the homeowner's children moved in. They were given 90 days’ notice.

“From the day I was given notice I started applying for rentals, and my previous landlord told me she could give me an outstanding reference,” explains Candice.

Working part-time as a truck and trailer driver, she is currently living in the spare room with Braxten at her parents’ house.

So far she has been to more than 30 rental viewings. One property manager even got as far as offering her a property in Papamoa, but withdrew it shortly afterwards.

“I just can’t work out what the heck is going on,” she says. “I am looking for properties that cost up to $620 a week in rent all over Tauranga – and I am still getting told no.

“I am beyond exhausted. I am at the point where I feel like I can’t be a good mother to my son because I can’t provide him with a place to live. I want to give up. How many more times can I be told ‘no’?”

Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby says Candace’s situation isn’t surprising. For about 10 days in a row earlier this month, the company had no properties available to rent in Tauranga.

“Even now we only have about three properties on the board. They are coming in, then they are just going out straight away,’ Dan says.

“There are a lot of really good tenants who are missing out.”

According to the Trade Me Rental Price Index in January, the median weekly rent in the Bay of Plenty is $550.

But does being a single parent impact a potential tenant’s chance of securing a property? Dan says it’s hard to know.

“In all honesty, I think some people will have a negative perception of solo mums,” he admits. “But we always look at it based on their references and whether we think they can afford the property.”

He says many Tauranga renters are couch surfing and bunking down with family members whilst looking for properties.

“We know how disruptive this can be for young families.”

Candice echoes this sentiment, saying it is difficult for her son to see her in a constant state of stress.

“At first I thought I couldn’t find a house because I am a solo mum. I have never, ever had this problem before.”

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Tom Ranger

Posted on 04-03-2021 14:11 | By

Been in the industry for over 20 years now. Seen govt changes make things worse every time. Pushing up prices for plans, materials, labor, council related inspection costs. The lists goes on and on. 20 years ago. You could draw your own plans and it would cost you a piece of paper and a pen. Now with the LVR system licensed building practitioners. You cannot do any of this work yourself where you previously could. Why is housing expensive they ask themselves...yeah right. The more middle men the better! More transactions! More taxes! No safer building now than then. Worse in fact. The quality of builder has dropped off and everyone has specialized in their own niche. Very rare now, for someone to know how to design and build from foundation to roof.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 04-03-2021 13:58 | By

@morepork. The LVR is a great example and I’d consider myself same as you regarding voting. But you do seem to be a lot more trusting of the lot at the top than I am. I trust them to be dis-honest and self-interested and am proven right time and time again. Min wages as example. Its about raising taxes and does very little to help anyone and people are realizing that now. (The opposite was said) LVR has crippled peoples ability to buy their first house. (The opposite was said) It’s not mismanagement or some accident imo that when, as a result of law changes. Govt increases tax revenue and reduces govt debt simultaneously. (Inflation). I can’t believe anymore that they don’t know what they have done/are doing. I can believe that they "sell" something that looks positive to people who can’t think things all the way through.

@Tom Ranger

Posted on 03-03-2021 16:03 | By morepork

I don’t know whether your comment is fair or not, Tom, because I’m not associated with the building industry. (I believe you are...). When I use the word "Government" I don’t ever mean it in a Political sense; (I am "apolitical" and will vote for whoever I think will be best, at election time, unless some particular action by the Government has so incensed me (like Mahuta changing the Law to suit her own agenda) that I have to protest it by voting AGAINST the government, next time...), rather, I mean the word "Government" as: "All of us... the people of NZ" (Which is what "Government" is supposed to represent, of course...) As a nation, we should be housing our people; we have the wherewithal to do it and it has to be mismanagement that prevents it.

Tom Ranger

Posted on 02-03-2021 15:11 | By

@ morepork. I’m a believer that the govt is actually responsible for the shortage and increasing costs of building. Every-time the govt gets involved with building industry. Everything becomes more cumbersome with more tick box style processes and no easier OR better than it was. The answer imo is less govt. Govt gave us the LVR preventing her from buying her own property.

@ john smith

Posted on 02-03-2021 13:45 | By morepork

Very sound advice, John. Although Candace has a right to associate with whomever she wants to, the company you keep will be a factor in considering your suitability as a tenant. It’s very hard anyway, and negative associations certainly won’t help. The Government needs to be doing much more as far as housing is concerned.


Posted on 02-03-2021 11:19 | By

Clean up your facebook profile. Photos of gang members, boy racing and very sad looking animals will put off landlords.