A woman was inundated with 200 messages in one week after advertising rooms for rent in her Wellington flat.
Those looking for a roof over their heads are resorting to making ‘flat CVs’ and posting pictures of themselves and baking on social media as a selling point.
But the people looking to fill rooms are also feeling the stress of receiving hundreds of desperate messages and having to let people down, or not having the capacity to reply to them at all.
When Alex Hallifax first posted rooms for rent in her Kilbirnie flat she intended to reply to every expression of interest but “didn’t quite realise how intense it would be”.
Hallifax said many people only messaged her saying they were interested or asked when the viewing was, rather than describing themselves and their interests.
“I just ended up ignoring messages, which doesn’t feel great and it doesn’t feel nice when someone ignores your message, but I just don’t have the time or capacity to respond to everybody.
“Someone messaged me today saying they desperately need something because they’re lease is ending soon and I just thought ‘oh my god this is so overwhelming’.
“I feel so guilty because I’ve been in that situation and I know how stressful it is.”
Wellington is reportedly the most expensive urban centre in NZ in which to to rent currently.
Another Wellington woman, who didn’t want to be named, said she had 60 applications for a room in her flat in Mt Victoria within 24 hours of posting on Facebook.
“I have been on both sides of the application process, so I know how it feels to put yourself out there and get turned-down. Now I also know how it feels to do the rejecting and it’s incredibly difficult.”
She replied to every inquiry, and still is replying to fresh ones.
She felt it was important to get back to everyone who put the effort in to apply, and to not leave them wondering.
“It’s rough to see that so many people are still looking for a place to live. I have been in their position before, and now know many people who have plans in Wellington this year but still don’t know where they are going to be living”, she said.
Ruby Pullen likened the process to speed dating.
She posted pictures of her flat in the suburb of Northland and next thing she knew, 20 messages had flooded in.
Pullen ended up making a spreadsheet to keep on top of the inquiries, adding people’s photos, names, ages, descriptions and when they could move in.
After selecting a few people, she then crafted a message that she could copy and paste and send to other keen flat hunters late to the game.
It explained her flat had received a lot of interest and were doing a first round of viewings but if that fell through, then they’d be in touch.
But the hardest people to let down were the ones she’d been in personal correspondence with.
“I have really hated this end part of the process, having talked to and called them and they’re really desperate for a room and they’re really lovely people but at the end of the day we only have a room for one person”, Pullen said.