Council defends proposed rent rise

Erin Moogan
Erin Moogan
If a proposed rent increase for council units goes ahead, rates would still be cheaper than the market, a council manager says.

The Invercargill City Council is consulting on a proposal to hike rent by 35% for its 215 units used to house elderly people on limited incomes.

Residents spoken to by the the Otago Daily Times last week were stressed about the proposal.

However, council infrastructure group manager Erin Moogan said the units would still be about $100 cheaper than the market rate.

The proposal would cover improvements to the council’s community housing portfolio, upgrading existing units to meet Healthy Homes Standards, she said.

It would also provide for future upgrades, as well as the provision of new units in the future.

"We are aiming to have heat pumps installed in all units in the 2021-22 financial year.

"Our staff will provide one-on-one training with tenants on how to use their heat pump, and they will be maintained for the tenants."

She stressed community housing portfolio was not funded by rates and it was a self-funding service.

"Feedback from general ratepayers is that they do not want their rates to contribute to the service.

"This means that in order to meet council’s goals of providing quality, affordable community housing with a sound, future-proofed maintenance plan, an increase in rent is required."

Ms Moogan said the proposed increase would vary depending on the unit, but highlighted the majority of council’s tenants were eligible for the accommodation supplement through Work and Income New Zealand.

"This has been considered as part of the proposed increase. The accommodation supplement will assist tenants to pay for the increase."

Tenants have until February 8 to provide their feedback, and hearings will follow for those who wish to speak to their submissions.

Comments

The accomodation supplement is a welfare subsidy to landlords.

Your ratepayers (who sound particularly tight), may not be contributing, but taxpayers do.

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