Shock at rent rise

Tenants in GDC’s community housing flats informed rent to rise in June.

Tenants in GDC’s community housing flats informed rent to rise in June.

UPPING THE RENT: Tenants in community housing flats on Lytton Road are among those facing an increase in rent from June. The council says rent was last set in 2016 and has been changed to align closer to 90 percent of the market rate. Picture by Paul Rickard

In the midst of a rental crisis, Gisborne District Council is increasing rent for beneficiaries and pensioners in some of its community housing flats by nearly five times the rate of inflation.

Tenants in GDC’s community housing flats were informed by Gisborne Holding Ltd, which runs the council’s business arm, that rent would rise in June.

One couple, who wished to remain anonymous, were told their rent would go up by $15 a week to $175 a week.

That was “unfair”, they said, because it was a 9.4 percent rise when the rate of inflation was just 2 percent.

It would also mean that rent would account for 44 percent of their fixed Winz income.

“This came as a big shock to all of us living in these units. We are grateful to live here. Double the inflation (4 percent) or even triple ( 6 percent) would be more reasonable,” they said.

“Our super and benefits do not increase. it will mean less food and money to pay bills.”

The council has more than 90 housing units throughout Elgin, Mangapapa, the central city, Kaiti and Te Karaka available for people 55 and older with a community services card.

These are managed by GHL, which is owned by the council.

GHL commercial property and projects general manager Rob Budd said any comment on the rent rise should come from the council.

“GHL manages the community housing on behalf of GDC, who collect all payments and any profits.”

Earlier this year GHL bought the former St Mary’s school site — on Childers Road between Roebuck and Stanley roads — with one councillor indicating the site could be used to build low-cost housing.

“GHL is currently investigating options as to what will give the company the best return on the former St Mary’s School site,” Mr Budd said yesterday.

GDC chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said community houses were provided by council for those aged 55 years and over who had difficulty in finding rental homes, allowing them independence at the most affordable cost.

“The council’s policy for community housing is that rents are set no higher than 90 percent of market rates for single person units.

“The rents were last set in 2016 and have been less than 90 percent of the market rate since then. The council has increased rents for all units this year to align closer to 90 percent of the market figure, which is provided independently by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment Tenancy Services.”

Gisborne Holdings managed community housing on behalf of the council and the income was received by council and used towards maintenance, rates and services such as lawn mowing, she said.

In the midst of a rental crisis, Gisborne District Council is increasing rent for beneficiaries and pensioners in some of its community housing flats by nearly five times the rate of inflation.

Tenants in GDC’s community housing flats were informed by Gisborne Holding Ltd, which runs the council’s business arm, that rent would rise in June.

One couple, who wished to remain anonymous, were told their rent would go up by $15 a week to $175 a week.

That was “unfair”, they said, because it was a 9.4 percent rise when the rate of inflation was just 2 percent.

It would also mean that rent would account for 44 percent of their fixed Winz income.

“This came as a big shock to all of us living in these units. We are grateful to live here. Double the inflation (4 percent) or even triple ( 6 percent) would be more reasonable,” they said.

“Our super and benefits do not increase. it will mean less food and money to pay bills.”

The council has more than 90 housing units throughout Elgin, Mangapapa, the central city, Kaiti and Te Karaka available for people 55 and older with a community services card.

These are managed by GHL, which is owned by the council.

GHL commercial property and projects general manager Rob Budd said any comment on the rent rise should come from the council.

“GHL manages the community housing on behalf of GDC, who collect all payments and any profits.”

Earlier this year GHL bought the former St Mary’s school site — on Childers Road between Roebuck and Stanley roads — with one councillor indicating the site could be used to build low-cost housing.

“GHL is currently investigating options as to what will give the company the best return on the former St Mary’s School site,” Mr Budd said yesterday.

GDC chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said community houses were provided by council for those aged 55 years and over who had difficulty in finding rental homes, allowing them independence at the most affordable cost.

“The council’s policy for community housing is that rents are set no higher than 90 percent of market rates for single person units.

“The rents were last set in 2016 and have been less than 90 percent of the market rate since then. The council has increased rents for all units this year to align closer to 90 percent of the market figure, which is provided independently by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment Tenancy Services.”

Gisborne Holdings managed community housing on behalf of the council and the income was received by council and used towards maintenance, rates and services such as lawn mowing, she said.

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