Migrant Tales – Struggling US Physio Says She’s Screwed at Every Turn, Wants to Return to the States

leaky homes in nz catch migrants unaware

Living in New Zealand can seriously damage your wealth and health

Continuing in our series of migrant tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Today’s tale was sent in by a physiotherapist who emigrated from the states two months ago. A single mom to two teenage daughters she thought New Zealand would be a safe place to raise them, with nice people. The reality when she got there was very different.

Read why this family is feeling lied to, ripped off, sick, and poor and why they can’t wait to leave…

I am a 42 year old mom of two teenage girls that moved to Auckland from the states in November.

I’m a physio with more education than most physios here yet the NZ Board of physios makes it nearly impossible to begin work quickly. It costs $1500 to submit and if one check mark is missed than your application is returned and non refundable. When you reapply then you pay $1500 again. I had 180 points on my EOI for skilled migrant but I still don’t have a skilled migrant visa to work.

My husband died a couple of years ago so I thought this would be a great move to the “3rd safest country in the world with the nicest people” for my kids and a lifestyle change. The only rental I could find is $900 per week in a leaky building. We have all been sick for 2 months and despite the rental agent acting like I was a horrible American hypochondriac I finally pulled out the carpet to find black mould everywhere.

After filing an application with the tribunal the agent finally had someone come test the air and carpet. The report states it is not safe to live here but the agent won’t let me reduce my rent or pay for a place for me to stay. She has lied to me and I have proof via email. My daughter is on an asthma inhaler and we are on antibiotics. I’m running out of money but I’ve been screwed at every turn.

I could go on and on. Kiwis are incapable of handling a confrontation. Eye contact is difficult for them and they have a huge problem with interrupting. I’m so exhausted my defeated. The only people that are been friendly are other immigrants. I’m literally so over it. I just want to get some money back from this horrible lease and move back to the states.

20 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Struggling US Physio Says She’s Screwed at Every Turn, Wants to Return to the States

  1. So many migrants with things in common here, have any of you ever set up a get together or meeting? Would be interesting to meet up.

  2. I am sure they told you that it is all New! And they have insulation which is new too. When the rats at one of the sloppy houses I had to live ate a whole into the wall of the kitchen it was my fault. Those landlords and agencies are like parasites when a migrant comes into the country. The special target seem to be single moms. I had to move 3 times in 1/2 year! And they became more ratier. Its even hard to express what type of parasite they set you in.
    And you’ know- it won’t get better! You better leave now before you end up like us- sucked out, hopeless and your children have to suffer those anti- intellectualism! You probably still have reserves to leave. Just don’t pay rent! That system of tribunal is so hopeless and I haven’t seen so much incompetence ever while looking through a case. You also not allowed to take a lawyer to the tribunal but like in Neanthertaler times fight for yourself!

  3. I agree. I am beginning to think that if you can get out of New Zealand, pack and go. Look at all the Kiwis that leave. In droves.

  4. 1/Generously insure your possessions
    2/ Burn the dump down
    3/ Return to the U.S kiss the ground
    Every state in the U.S makes N.Z look like the hell it is ,my favourites ,California,Washington State
    Colorado ,New Mexico,Hawaii ,Texas.
    Sorry you were sucked into the N.Z bullshit,who would have thought a government would lie to the extent the N.Z govt does,as mentioned in other discussions on this site ,the govt. of N.Z falsely lures immigrants here in order to fleece them of their life savings .The propaganda machine fails to mention polluted waterways ,cold climate ,ridiculously overpriced real estate ,low wage economy ,massive competition for jobs ,draughty damp homes ,violent society and worlds most expensive cost of living.Im sure you will appreciate the U.S for all that it is when you return there,I’m jealous.

  5. Hi, You must be a strong and intelligent person. Trying to leave to the better place for the future of your kids and on your own! I think it is brave and you made it, it was very right, but NZ is a huge mistake. Please don’t give up. Don’t stay there. If I only could go to US, I would even with zero in my pocket. You will make it and you will be stronger after. You will be fine once you will leave. I am feeling your pain to start from beginning plus settle again. I hope you will find help from your friends and family. I am starting from beginning all over again and I had everything, apartment with the swimming pool, car, good job, and I came to NZ and it ruined my life’s effort, I had to escape from this place to be able to start from nothing again, but safe now I am trying to recover. I found people in NZ very weird, so low IQ plus no activity in their life, only watching (TV, sport, race…) and they are also consuming food and drinks that is pretty much it, no self discipline, no hygiene, no development, no satisfaction…and no wonder why, as there is lack of any opportunity there. You can only challenge yourself by your own little activities. Please stay strong and don’t blame yourself for anything just leave, you will be fine. Don’t even try to fight with this place or it will take more of your energy. Go home and be happy. I wish you good luck and I hope you will soon be living balanced life…

  6. Hi, so sorry to hear of your pain and frustration in NZ. Happens to many of us unfortunately. We got lulled into a false sense of security coming here. Your rent sounds ridiculously high. Move out asap and move into a 2 bedroom apartment. There are places charging around $450 to $550 a week including car park for a 2 bedroom unit. I say apartment because it is way better than these shanty leaky putrid homes that one has to rent for exorbitant prices. Warmer in winter too. Look at the outer suburbs like St Lukes, Newton, Newmarket, Grafton, Kingsland etc. Trademe rentals is your best bet then try PostaNote. try and find a listing that is private and deal with landlord directly. Much easier and simpler than an annoying agent. It is similar to Gumtree for NZ. Kiwis are very passive aggressive and extremely PC. They love going around in circles. Not practical at all in my opinion. I lived in Miami for 4 years and now I am stuck here…

    • No problem. Hmm, the options are up to the agent really or the tribunal if you do go that way. The agent could be nice about it(doubt it though) and give 3 weeks notice to vacate the premises or leave and lose your bond or just deal with the tribunal to at least get some of the bond back and terminate the tenancy agreement that way. It would have to be mutual termination and hopefully get your bond back. I would try that first before dealing with the bureaucracy and red tape of the tribunal.

    • I’ve no idea what kind of shit hole charges $900 a week…that is beyond extortionate, you should be getting a penthouse suite for that. My rent is $360 a week for a tiny shitty 2 bedroom adjoining unit in a dump of a neighbourhood. Oven and house was filthy when I moved in, the previous occupants and landlady hadn’t cleaned a damned thing.

      This lady should be reporting the estate agents to the Tenancy Tribunal. which I see she has done. It’s all you can do unfortunately unless you get a solicitor involved which will cost a bomb.

      Thats what enrages me about NZ, there are no real proper channels to go through to protect/empower yourself from scum bags should you be faced with fraud, being ripped off etc.

      Best of luck to this lady. Still can’t believe you are paying $900 rent a WEEK. That is absolutely criminal.

    • In theory, she can provide notice of termination if the house is uninhabitable. However, this is somewhat challenging in practice because she is a foreigner going up against the Retardicon 6 landlord establishment. Moreover, the definition of uninhabitable is different in New Zealand compared to the rest of the world. The procedures are rather time consuming and costly.

      My suggestion for the OP is to leave New Zealand and just stop paying the rent when she leaves or even several weeks before she leaves. The landlord has no practical recourse. I would strongly suggest that she leave as soon as possible. I doubt she will have a challenge finding a job given her level of experience or perhaps even going to a third country such as Australia.

      If she would like to leave her details, I am happy to write and see if I can offer some practical assistance.

    • This would of course need to be checked with a lawyer, but my understanding of a situation like this is that if the house is shown to be unsafe, then the tenant is not bound by the contract. The reason for this is simple; you cannot enforce a contract to do something illegal. Getting a tenant into a property that is unliveable and dangerous (even according to NZ’s low standards), and forcing them to stay under those conditions is most likely against the law, and it sounds like the property should not have been rented out in the first place. The first thing I recommend is giving them a 14 day notice to remedy the problem based on a breach of landlord responsibilities. Part of owning a property is a LEGAL OBLIGATION to maintain it, and removing the mould should not be your responsibility. This is the main step toward getting a resolution, and is the first step of the dispute process. I’m guessing you may have done this already.

      The landlord can also be held fully accountable for the condition of the property, and ALL health related conditions that result from it. You can certainly write to them informing them that you are holding them fully accountable for ALL future medical related expenses related to the the state of the property up to and including doctor and hospital visits, and any private treatment needed; this will probably scare the hell out of them.

      Don’t take this sort of thing lightly. Around 1,000 children are admitted to New Zealand hospitals every year with conditions, mainly respiratory, and around 100 of those have such serious conditions they DIE as a result; the main cause is mouldy homes.

      If the landlord and Tenancy Tribunal refuse to fix the problem, or end your lease, I would suggest taking this up a level, checking with a lawyer (most have a service for free legal advice one day a week), and looking into the Small Claims Court. Other solutions may involve going to your local newspaper and telling them you have a story for them, or even getting in contact with Fair Go. You might even want to consider reporting the landlord for breaches of the Fair Trading Act, as it seems very unlikely they would not have known the condition of the property before you moved in.

    • Absolutely! Your agent seems to be in breach of section 45 of the Residential Tenancies Act “Health and Safety”. If you can prove to the Tenancy Tribunal your apartment is in detriment to your and your family health due to poor maintenance and/or construction defect, then you can sue them for sure. Give Tenancy Services a call and calmly explain your situation. It costs only 20 bucks to lodge an application and it’s all done online here. But, hey, once you’ve done that you watch her jumping up and down. You wouldn’t believe but they track everything from online, despite all privacy provisions. Your agent will know what you will try to sue her for before you lodge an application (pay for it)! So speak to tenancy a few times, get some doctors certificates, take a few photos, better all invite a building inspector (ring your local builder), then put it all online and laugh watching as it all unfolds. My agent created an illegal flat in the rumpus of a house and created a separate tenancy, got me a “kitchenette” as well but it’s illegal as there’s no fire insulation between the two tenancies. Also I can hear the tenants above as they mumble. The local council has known about it for months, they promised to sort the compliance issues out, my agent was going at me for not contacting the tenants about about the noise myself (it’s HIS JOB according to the law). I put a few documents online on the government website but did not pay for an application, I could now sue the agent agent under about 3 articles of the Tenancy law. But… instead things went miraculously quiet above me… You wonder bloody why!! This place is full of corrupt secret society style poo-poo.

  7. I am american mom trapped in australia by abusive ex and family court. They love to charge thousands for visas and neglect to mention that a foreign mom is trapped when she lands due to family law. I feel your pain. I do. I went from upper middle class lifestyle in states with superior everything to day to day nail biting poverty despite working. I can barely keep us in ripoff overpriced ill maintained home with rediculous utility bills and substandard overpriced food. The aussies i have met seem to be on take and dont reciprocate. Its do unto others than hit the next victim. I am so poor and humiliated and never worked so hard in my life making up for what ex does and doesnt do to further cripple family…in the best interest of children they say…my kids hav a huge family in america and cant even visit due to the courts. Violation of basic human rights and no regard for mothers. As they told me in court…he beat you but did he beat the kids? You dont count…its about a ‘fathers’ rights to his children…

    My dear we are in different boats…same oars. Stay strong my fellow american.

    • How long have you lived in Australia? Are you saying that you have to stay until the children turn 18?

  8. I keep reading from Brits, Americans, and Kiwis as well, that leaking/non-insulated buildings are an issue. That is a pretty basic “building code” issue. What gives?

    • The corrupt govt has links to the largest monopoly suppliers of building materials ,the material prices are artificially inflated and people can not afford to repair their homes to a high standard,this coupled with over regulation and overcharging for building consents by the councils results in projects being done illegally or often not being done at all,building materials are an average of 40 to 50 % more expensive than North America ,the quality of many goods available is so poor that it wouldn’t make it to the shelves in the U.S.

      • Here is a good example of this in action. The CTV building in Christchurch, where over 100 people died during the Christchurch earthquakes, happened as a direct result of it not meeting building standards.

        • Numerous examples of buildings not being “up to code” as they are being built.
          In a small town, council building being built is sub-standard as it was built. 4-5 years later,
          council has to vacate building for significant structural upgrades [as it was not built to code].
          Bypass road built to specifically take heavy truck traffic needs rebuilding within 2 years as the road deteriorated. Purpose built for heavy traffic and it goes to pot [holes] within 2 years?
          This sort of nonsense goes on all the time.

    • “That is a pretty basic “building code” issue. What gives?”

      The “leaky buildings scandal” is what gives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_homes_crisis

      Basically, the government of the day (~20 years ago) decided that builders were able to self-certify and wouldn’t cheat, so they relaxed codes to allow them to do just that, along with dropping training requirements.

      The end result is entirely predictable.

      • Thank you, Stoat. I hate that the problem is so common that it has a Wikipedia page. So, I can “YouTube” how to be a builder, and that makes me a builder? Sweet. I need to move to New Zealand, and call myself a “master builder”. But my “guilty mind” would get the best of me.

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