Marlborough Property Investors' Association

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Eco-My-Flat competition encourages better tenants

A competition organised by the University of Canterbury’s Sustainability Initiatives is creating better relationships between landlords and students.

Students flats, says Eco-My-Flat organiser Sharon McIver, have always had a bad rap from both ends. “This competition encourages dialogue and says, if you work together it’s a win/win situation.”

The second Eco-My-Flat Competition drew over 30 entries from University of Canterbury and Lincoln students who underwent a month-long flat audit, attended sustainable living workshops and blogged about their efforts. As well as student winners, two landlords were recognised.

John and Aimee van Gerwen, owners of a property in Richmond, won the Best Landlord prize. Not only did they buy thermal curtains and install a heat pump in the flat, but they supported the flatters’ efforts in letting them dig up a vege gardening and gave them seeds, a wheelbarrow, buckets, some garden lime, tools, a compost bin, and promised to buy fruit trees.

From the landlords’ point of view, McIver says, the competition has been great. “They’re getting tenants who care about their property, working on their gardens, wrapping hot water cylinders in blankets and stopping gaps to save power, thinking about their power useage and generally thinking about how they can become more sustainable. If you get tenants implementing these kind of things, they’re probably going to be very good tenants.

“It’s been a really positive competition. Hopefully next year, we’ll be able to increase our efforts in getting more landlords on board. We may even do a landlord workshop.”

McIver adds that the University hopes the idea will catch on around the rest of the country. “I personally think it’s the sort of competition that could do a lot towards improving the reputation of student flats.”