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SocietySeptember 30, 2022

The mouldiest rental properties in Aotearoa, ranked and reviewed

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Spotty mirror, blackened wall, which flat is the mouldiest of them all? 

All week we have been examining the current state of renting in Aotearoa, and all week we have been bombarded with the bleakest pictures of your mouldy rentals across the country. Coincidentally, national rent prices have soared to an all-time high at $580 a week, while an Auckland family has resorted to eating outdoors on mats to avoid mould growing in their Kainga Ora rental. Given that healthy homes standards are failing us and the only solution seems to be to stop breathing, perhaps the only option is to share in the anguish together. Here are 10 of the grimmest mould submissions from past and present renters.

10) Holy hell

Not a mould pic but here’s a hole in my kitchen wall my landlords left for two months after finally fixing a leak we’d had for over a year.” Basically an extra bedroom!

9)  Beware the cupboard pt 1

We have a cupboard that has been leaking for 18 months and is unusable until the roof is repaired.” 

8) Beware the cupboard pt 2

The hills have eyes and the shutters have spores.

7) Mouldy Birkenstocks

We received not one but two submissions that included these absolutely rotted Birkenstocks. “I left my flat in Dunedin for a week and my entire wardrobe got completely mouldy,” said one Birkenstock customer. “I had to soak all of my clothes in diluted vinegar and throw out half my shoes. I would also leave my dehumidifier on for days at a time and have to empty it every hour.”

6) Mould on the lung

“I lived in a place that was so unhealthy with hidden mould (among other things) that I grew fungus in my lungs!” said this particularly upbeat renter. “Aspergillosis, I think it’s called. I only lived there a few months.”

5) Funky funghi

This one is personal. My old $550 a week rental in Sandringham was plagued by “wood ear” mushrooms creeping through the cracks in our bedroom wall like tiny disgusting tongues lapping at the damp and cold. At least I was saving money on my weekly mushroom shop!

4) Ponsonby’s finest

“I thought I’d share what $295 a week in Ponsonby got me!” the owner of this pillow wrote to The Spinoff. “I used to fill almost 250ml a week of Damp Rid and this is after a single week of not being there.” When they flagged the issue with their landlord, they were told to open the windows more often. “I am a third year uni student trying to survive without sickness and it’s almost impossible in Auckland – I don’t think a degree should cost you living in this.”

3) A sill of surprises

A harrowing still of a sill from a Central Otago renter who pays $470 a week, and opened the curtains after a long winter in an unused part of the house.

2) Truly floored

From that same Central Otago house, presenting the “gross as” bathroom floor after they lifted the carpet. “There was no fan in the bathroom for the first one and a half years we lived here,” the tenant wrote. “We pay $470 rent a week.”

1) Mould, on the ceiling

“Our landlord refused to fix a leaking shower and it turned into this, mushrooms and all.”

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

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