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'For Rent' sign deemed too low-rent for New Plymouth neighbourhood

Stacey Tancred with the offending sign - now safely displayed in a window. Photo / Robin Martin

A stoush has broken out at an exclusive New Plymouth housing development over a 'For Rent' sign that a residents group says lowers the tone.

Pukeko Rentals property manager Stacey Tancred said she got a surprise when she went to check on a brand new four-bedroom home in the Links development in Bell Block, to find the 'For Rent' sign had been removed and tossed beside the garage.

She put it back up, but it was gone again the next day.

Things only got worse when she went door knocking to see what had happened, Ms Tancred said.

"We just got arrogance really and, in my opinion, snobbery.

"Some of the comments from members of the [homeowners] association were that they don't want tenants in here because they'll bring down the community."

Ms Tancred acknowledged she had unwittingly broken the development's rules around the displaying of signs and not sought an exemption from the association.

"There's a Section 14 in there that says no signs are to be erected of any advertisement or any hoarding of a commercial nature.

"My reaction to that was there's 'For Sale' signs, so why can't there be for 'For Rent' signs?"

Homeowners association committee member Ken Hargraves lives in the quiet lane where the wannabe rental is situated.

He made no bones about it: he was the one who had removed the 'For Rent' sign.

"There was no permission granted in the first place and we've never had any rental signs around here that we've ever seen," he said.

"There's 'For Sale' signs, builders' signs and things, but everybody has to gain permission beforehand. I know some of them haven't, but the rules are the rules."

Ken Hargarves was happy to admit it was him who removed the sign. Photo / Robin Martin

He had nothing against rental properties but was just tired of the number of signs in the neighbourhood.

"People don't drive around here looking for a house to rent, they'll drive around looking to buy," he said.

"The house across the road on the corner and the next one are both rentals. They didn't put up rental signs, they just rented them.

"There's something like 15 to 20 rentals here so nobody has an issue with rentals."

Out on the streets of the Links, knowledge of the development's "rules" was patchy.

Ange was not clear on signs but knew she had to keep an eye on the lawns.

"In the Links they have their own rules and regulations as well. You can't add to the height of the buildings, they can't be any taller.

"You have to have a manicured back lawn and things like that."

The Links development is in Bell Block. Photo / Robin Martin

Gail Brady simply had more pressing things to worry about than signs.

"I really don't care if they have signs or not - it doesn't bother me," she said.

"If that's the rules they should follow the rules, but I really don't have a problem with signs."

Adam knew not to park any mobile home out front, but he was still getting his head around the rule book.

"I know of areas but I haven't really read the pack... There was a lot of stuff in there."

Simon Habib reckoned vehicles emblazoned with signs were a no-no.

"My understanding was quite vaguely that I think that it was signwritten or branded cars you couldn't have parked out on the driveway to see, or maybe it was out on the street at all."

In the meantime, Ms Tancred has been reduced to displaying her 'For Rent' sign through an window that did not look out onto the street, but instead onto the private right-of-way.

Ironically, one of the few people who could see it now was near-neighbour Mr Hargraves.

This article was originally published by RNZ.