Multiple Wellington landlords are encouraging bidding wars among potential tenants by exploiting the capital’s desperate rental crisis – and apparently there’s nothing in the law stopping them. Trade Me figures show average rents in Wellington grew from $440 a week in 2010 to $520 in 2017.

Trade Me’s year-on-year figures from April show that the number of rentals on the market dropped 65 per cent while rent prices and viewings increased by 11 per cent.

• Wellington MP Grant Robertson knows of multiple cases of renting tenders in Wellington – from around the start of the year when students were returning to the capital. “I think it is barely legal,” he said. Labour has a package of measures to be released shortly to strengthen renters rights, he also said.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment national manager tenancy compliance and investigation Steve Watson said the practice was allowable under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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