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Wellington Releases 95 Affordable Apartments To Tackle Rental Crisis Amidst Covid-19

Please attribute all quotes to Lily Wichman, manager of WMG Homes.

We are introducing WMG Homes, which is offering portions of Park Hotel, Liberty Apartment Hotel and Setup at Manners which are being shifted from short stay/hotel rooms to residential living, which means homes for Wellingtonians, for rent.

All up, there will be 95 new apartments on offer in Wellington starting this Saturday.

The current economic and health crisis does not preclude the fact that we also still have a rental crisis in Wellington, with too little housing supply and prohibitive rents.

Given heightened awareness around living in close proximity to a lot of people, like say in flatting situations, we have noticed more of a demand towards independent living, over the past few weeks.

To live alone or in pairs or even sometimes in threes in a central city apartment, especially for young professionals, can be an expensive proposition.

Our apartments have a range of choices, for single residents as well as pairs and groups of three for that balance between social isolation (a negative) and social distancing (a healthy practice)

Additionally, going into winter - particularly this winter - there will be heightened demand around insulation and heating.

So we saw a small silver lining in the Covid-19 situation, in which we are able to increase Wellington’s rental stock really fast in time for winter.

One of the key things here is that not every hotel in the country can be easily adapted to a new use so quickly. All three hotels were planned and built with rooms that have functioning kitchens, which means you can go from hotel to home quite easily.

Along with heating and insulation, they are fully furnished and ready to move into for anyone that needs. .At a time like this, ease is everything.

Unlike normal apartment arrangements, we plan to allow for a range of flexibilities which are important for things like quality of life and the ability to balance between needing longevity and needing flexibility.

Right now, one of the major issues with the rental stock in Wellington (aside from the high prices), is that landlords insist on one year contracts. It’s stressful if you suddenly find a need to move before the year is up, and it’s also stressful to keep thinking yearly about whether you’ll still have the same place next year.

WMG Homes is a new initiative that offers a minimum of three month rentals to ordinary Wellingtonians, and at the same time offers 36-month rentals too.

This is really different to the way that corporate short stay apartments work with hotels right now, where if you are in town for work for a couple of weeks, or you want to grab a fully furnished apartment in between flatting situations, you might be paying around $200 per night, which is out of the range of most people in a pinch.

WMG Homes prices start from $250 a week. There is no end date at all for this initiative to end. This is a new initiative. Each of the apartment buildings has different amenities. For example at the Park apartments, residents are able to book things like the bikes if they like. They will also be able to use the onsite restaurants and room service too. Electricity, water, wifi and maintenance is all covered in the rent. The buildings are also fully secured.

We won’t prioritise who gets in first - in the current climate of uncertainty, people just want to get somewhere fast, and so that’s what we are assisting with.

It’s such a confusing time for people that if we start picking and choosing, people who need it may miss out. That’s why we are putting a call out, so that they know.

We expect we will see many young workers, as it tends to be most prevalent amongst that group in Wellington that people live in flats of five, six and seven, which in this current climate is quite far from independent living.

Cleaning protocols are really important. Before you move in, it is sanitized by our in-house team, and after you move out, it is sanitized thoroughly again. In between, you take care of it like your home, but all public areas like hallways and lifts are sanitized around the clock, meaning you can trust you are living overall in a healthier environment. Residents are also able to tap into our housekeeping services and pay for that on a regular basis if that is what they would like


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