SocietySeptember 29, 2022

I pay $750 a week in rent – this is how I live


A family finds their New Plymouth home clean and spacious – but is it worth $750 a week? 

I’m a 31-year-old married woman, employed, living with my husband, our son and my brother-in-law in New Plymouth. We moved from Auckland a month ago and we have rented a few properties in the past including in Auckland and Whangārei.

We’ve been renting our current house for eight weeks now and we pay $750 in rent a week. That doesn’t include power. We pay $247.15 a month for electricity and gas to heat the house. Water is currently free in New Plymouth and Stratford. Households won’t be charged a metered rate until 2024, a year after all meters are installed and the charge is yet to be decided. Our internet is $90 a month and we pay $50 a month to have our lawns maintained.

The house is a 1950s build that’s moderately renovated and in good condition. It has three bedrooms, one bathroom, a second toilet and a study nook. There’s a laundry room and a storage cupboard. The place has a large open deck in the backyard and a tools shed. The property is fully fenced and has a driveway in the front, but there’s no garage. The landlord did offer to leave their trampoline, desk and outdoor furniture for us to use at no additional cost, but we declined the offer. The house is compliant to the Healthy Homes standard. 

My rent is more than 30% of my gross weekly income, but I share the costs of the rent with my husband and my brother-in-law contributes to other household expenses such as groceries.

I get around New Plymouth by car with the nearest supermarket being a five-minute drive from my house. Being in a smaller city, similar to when we were living in Whangārei, buses don’t run as frequently during the week, and in New Plymouth, the buses don’t run at all during the weekends.

Looking good New Plymouth but you could do with some better public transport.

My favourite thing about my rental is how spacious it is, inside and in the backyard. My place in Auckland was a three-bedroom property as well but very compact, no front yard and shared a driveway with four other properties.

My least favourite thing is the fact that it doesn’t have a garage.

Our property manager is courteous and professional, to the point of being very formulaic and impersonal in her communication.

I would not prefer to buy a home in New Plymouth because our family doesn’t plan to live here long term. We plan to return to Auckland, where we’ve bought a property, and are here for work in the meantime. We bought because we were wanting the sense of security that a home gives, being parents, and we looked for a place with proximity to the local services that we frequently use. 

I don’t think I’m getting what I pay for in rent because I have rented properties in Auckland with four bedrooms in a newly-developed suburb and it was only $100 more than this property in New Plymouth. 

Rent Week 2022 runs until October 2. Read the best of our renting coverage here.

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