Committee to consider rent increases for council units

The cost of renting a Clutha District Council-owned unit could soon rise.

Community services co-ordinator Loesje Morrison has recommended increases ranging from $3 to $18 a week for units throughout the district.

In a report to be discussed by the district assets committee tomorrow, she has recommended rental increases for new tenants as of February 24 and for existing tenants from December 1 this year.

The council owns 98 units: 41 in Balclutha, 16 in Milton, 11 in Lawrence, 10 in Tapanui, six in Clinton, six in Owaka, five in Waihola and three in Kaitangata. Its top-priority tenants are elderly people on low incomes. Rents are adjusted annually and reviewed every three years.

After a rent review carried out by Southern Valuation and Consultancy Ltd, it was clear some form of increase was warranted, Ms Morrison said in her report. Rents in the private sector had risen and it was costing the council more to run and maintain the units.

In August 2008, the council had approved a budget of $593,000 for heat pumps, exterior and interior painting and the installation of new stoves. All the heat pumps had been installed, painting was under way and one-third of tenants had new stoves, she said. The remainder of the stoves were expected to be installed this year

Historically, the Clinton and Owaka units had low occupancy rates, Ms Morrison said.

"Increased rental may impact on this in the future, but given the modest increase, this is unlikely to be a major factor."



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