Properties to rent for seasonal workers down by a third
Finding a place to call home for the winter workforce in Wanaka is a bigger challenge this year than in previous years, as reported today in the Wanaka App! Read article here.
This is a problem that we at The WAN believe we can resolve as a community if we are prepared to think and act a little differently. As noted in the article, owner/occupiers can fill a spare room with a flatmate, and put in place a "flatmate agreement" (we call such an agreement the "Accommodator rules") rather than having to put in place a tenancy agreement. It's important to understand that the legalities between being a tenant and a flatmate are different.
Both Tenancy Services and the Citizens Advice Bureau provide good information about what it means to be a flatmate vs a tenant. These resources also cover what the responsibilities are for the owner/occupier (and/or the head tenant) when getting flatmates in to a property.
In 2019, Wanaka was reported to have 7780 houses. Acknowledging that approximately 30% of those are "unoccupied" holiday homes, that still leaves ~5500 occupied houses in the area. If just 2% of those owner/occupiers were willing and able to offer a spare room to a seasonal worker, that's 110 beds!
The seasonal workforce help make our Winter experience the best it can be. They share their skills in a multitude of ways - they are the ones who fit us with the right gear, who teach us and our families to ski/snowboard, who run the lifts, who maintain the trails and the roads, who ensure the mountains are safe, who make our coffee, who create or serve our meals, or who are there to help us sort out anything we might have forgotten. These workers are the backbone of the success of our winter.
It's time for a change! Let's work together to accommodate the awesome winter workforce and make winter better for all!