Wanaka tiny house owner pulls listing after online abuse

Author
Chris Marriner, NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Monday, 22 July 2019, 12:38PM
The Wanaka tiny house was advertised for $290 per week for a couple. (Photo / Supplied)
The Wanaka tiny house was advertised for $290 per week for a couple. (Photo / Supplied)

A Wanaka man has removed his online advertisement for a "tiny, tiny house", which measures only 2 metres across, after receiving abusive comments.

The property was listed for $290 per week and generated a large amount of online feedback, much of it negative.

Thomas Schattovits was labelled a "bastard" who was "exploiting" the ongoing housing crisis after his pint-sized property hit the headlines but he has told the Herald that the reaction hasn't completely put him off.

Saying that the experience was "interesting", Schattovits is planning to let the response die down and then decide what to do, adding that he will likely re-advertise.

"When something like that happens it points in a few directions, I've learned a few things," he said.

"I've learned that I'm not off the mark, there's a lot of people charging the same for similar properties."

Schattovits said that it was his first time being targeted on social media and he was left feeling "really vulnerable" as the comments appeared.

He said that most of the negative comments came from people in other areas of New Zealand and that comments from Wanaka locals were "invariably neutral or positive" with one telling him: "Don't listen to the haters".

The tiny house fits a double and a single bed. Photo / Supplied

The tiny house fits a double and a single bed. Photo / Supplied

Schattovits added that the depth of feeling has reinforced for him the need for New Zealand to find other solutions to the housing crisis and noted that the comments "point out a sentiment that is valid and I'm fully behind it".

"Yes, rents are high and statistics show that in our district they're the highest in the country compared to what people earn."

Schattovits, a builder by trade, was eager to correct assumptions that the tiny house was of a low quality, telling the Herald that he used left over building materials to construct it.

"It has Pink Batts, the flashings are like a real house," he said, adding that certified tradesmen had installed the plumbing and electrics.

Schattovits lived in the tiny house with his 7-year-old son, who Schattovits shares custody of with his former partner, for a time in autumn this year and revealed that his child was also a motivation for listing the property for rent.

His son, who can't attend school due to behavioural issues, needed to be homeschooled and the income from the tiny house enabled him to do that.

"I'm not a greedy landlord, I'm not even a landlord. I'm renting the house that I'm living in and my tiny house helps me with the rent," he said.

Schattovits reiterated that, while it might not be for everybody, the tiny house was a viable option for some of the many people living in Wanaka on working visas and much cheaper that single rooms at nearby backpackers.

Overall, he said that the experience had not deterred him from listing the tiny house again or from continuing his work in the building industry.

Schattovits, who is the Queenstown Lakes manager for modular home company Easybuild, said the desire to build better homes was "definitely ingrained in me" and wanted New Zealanders to know that "you don't have to have a big house to have a happy life".

Schattovits said the house was like a

Schattovits said the house was like a "caravan on steroids." Photo / Supplied

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