In a statement to BCN News, Premier Dalton Tagelagi says that the Government “will be happy to look into regulating the property rental sector if the rental fees are beyond fetch”.
Premier Tagelagi was responding to a statement made by a visiting consulting lecturer Dr Sunia Vosikata about the need for the Niue government to do something about the very high cost of renting accommodation on Niue.
During an interview with BCN News last week before departing for Fiji Dr. Vosikata said that during his 6 months stranded in Niue due to the travel restrictions, at one stage he was paying $500 per week.
Dr Vosikata said that NZ rates should not apply to Niue and if landlords are to bring NZ rates to Niue then that is not actually market rates.
Concerns over the high property rental rates in Niue is not a new concern as this had been raised by other expatriates working in Niue. There are many government employees recruited by the Public service commission.
One of these employees told BCN news that they are renting a fully furnished house in central Alofi for $600 a month. He said that part of his employment package includes an accommodation allowance of $3,500 per year. However, he says this allowance will only contribute about $290 per month to their rent, and they will have to pay $310 a month to cover their rent.
Government properties (pictured above) mainly located at Fualahi vary in monthly rentals depending on the size and whether the house is furnished or not. BCN News is aware that one fully furnished 3-bedroom house at Fualahi in Alofi is currently charging $240 per week. The three tenants share this cost.
Dr Vosikata compared Niue rental properties to those in the Cook Islands on the main island of Rarotonga where according to the academic during his time there, a fully furnished property can be rented for around $250 per week.
BCN asked Justin Kamupala the government’s Solicitor General if there are any legal protections for tenants from these hefty prices. Kamupala said that there are currently no legislations that govern the property rentals sector.
Justin Kamupala who is also on the Board of the Niue Philatelic and Numismatic Corporation which is responsible for the government’s housing and property rentals says that they are also looking at reviewing their rates because of the high costs of local building materials and maintenance costs.