Auckland renter, Sarah Bickerton, has found finding and affording a rental apartment far easier in Auckland compared to Wellington.

PHOTO: Auckland renter, Sarah Bickerton, has found finding and affording a rental apartment far easier in Auckland compared to Wellington.

According to STUFF Trade Me is “profiting from a human rights crisis”, say a group of community organisations demanding the online auction company takes steps to prevent illegal rental listings on its website.

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Recent Wellington-based rentals have been likened to a dungeon, while another didn’t have windows. In both cases, Trade Me removed the offending listings once told about them.

But the coalition of community groups has written to Trade Me asking that landlords or property managers be required to declare homes for rent comply with the Residential Tenancies Act and Healthy Homes standards. The group also wants a ban on advertising from users who “repeatedly breach standards”.

Geordie Rogers is a spokesperson for Renters United, one of 12 groups who signed the letter. Trade Me was obliged to ensure rentals listed on its site “don’t break the law”, he said.

This windowless room was listed on Trade Me for $350 per week in February.
STUFF
This windowless room was listed on Trade Me for $350 per week in February.

The company “earned up to $329 a listing”, with 40,000 people viewing rental homes listed on its platform every day, Rogers said.

“At the moment, Trade Me’s primary way to stop listings is waiting for people to report them.

“By that point, if the listing’s been up for a day, it’s already been seen by 40,000 people. There really needs to be an earlier intervention, and that’s what the letter is asking for.”