Community housing Fagan Place, Mangawhai

Council houses on offer

by Paul Campbell

Kaipara District Council is looking for someone to take over community houses it owns in Mangawhai that are too expensive to upgrade, and it’s calling for expressions of interest from community housing providers to step in.

The council owns 24 houses in Fagan Place, which KDC infrastructure manager, Jim Sephton, says are in poor condition and no longer provide an appropriate standard of living for tenants.

“If we upgraded the houses, it would be expensive for ratepayers. Many of our tenants rely on New Zealand Superannuation and market rents would be too high for them. Currently, the rents are significantly below market rates and don’t provide enough income to pay for the maintenance needed,” he said.

Although the Ministry of Social Development offers the Income Related Rent Subsidy to top up rents to the market rate, councils are not eligible to access it.

“Community housing providers are eligible for the government’s rent subsidy, and they can offer tenants a better service because they specialise in community housing.”

Mr Sephton said council had no fixed ideas yet about what the proposals would look like, but the homes were likely to be rebuilt on the existing site or somewhere else in Mangawhai.

“As they are now, the houses are spread out and don’t make the best use of the space.” At a meeting last week he reassured tenants that they would not have to move until the new houses were built.

KDC follows other councils around the country that have transferred their community housing to CHPs.

Expressions of interest opened on Monday, November 4 and close on Friday, December 20 and specifications are available on the Community Housing page on kaipara.govt.nz.