Street peaceful at last
MT ALBERT’S most infamous address is getting a revamp and hopefully a new reputation.
Housing New Zealand took possession of 39 Range View Rd on Monday morning after tenant Sharon Salt and her family voluntarily ended their tenancy.
The move comes after years of complaints of violence and intimidation from neighbours and residents.
Mrs Salt ended the tenancy a day before a four-day hearing was due to start at the Tenancy Tribunal – the corporation’s second attempt to evict the family.
Housing New Zealand senior communications adviser Kathryn O’Sullivan says the house has the normal wear and tear expected after a 14-year tenancy.
“We’ve taken possession and handed it over to contractors. They are in there already so we can put another family in there as quickly as possible.”
The organisation hopes to have a new family in the home within three weeks.
She says tenants are chosen based on who has the greatest need for a house.
“We will be choosing a family who are appreciative of having a state house,” she says.
Meanwhile, residents say they are relieved to have their quiet street back.
One neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, says the Salt family left gradually over the weekend. “We’re ecstatic,” she says. She and her husband have lived near the Salts during their 14-year tenancy and say there was trouble the entire time.
They thought about moving but her ill-health made it impossible.
“Plus we’d have to sell the house and I don’t think anyone would have bought it.”
The couple were worried the Salts wouldn’t leave or would become confrontational on Monday when the tenancy expired.
“It’s an absolute relief. We’re still worried because of drive-bys. They were very angry. I feel sorry for the new neighbours.”
She says the four weeks leading up to the tenancy deadline was “horrible and stressful”.
The Salt children and their friends gathered at the address, wearing bandannas and acting aggressively, she says.
“They were looking for a fight but we kept our heads down. We stayed in the house a lot and didn’t go outside very often. If we had to go out, we didn’t go past their place. We had to go in the opposite direction.”
She says police constables Nigel Turnbull and Landon Pearce, who dealt with the case, have been supportive.
“We love them. They’ve been wonderful. Nigel is my hero.”
The couple say they are concerned about what the new tenants will be like but are giving Housing New Zealand the benefit of the doubt.
Another resident says the street is peaceful and the family left quietly. She says people are relieved and will be making sure the street stays quiet by keeping an eye out for other trouble.
Mr Turnbull says the Salts’ decision to move out was long overdue.
“The various stakeholders have worked hard to ensure a positive outcome for Range View Rd residents and the community, who were terrorised by members of the Salt family and the associated street gang.”
It is unknown where the Salt family has moved to and they could not be contacted for comment.
Taking over: Housing New Zealand senior communications adviser Kathryn O’Sullivan at 39 Range View Rd, which has been vacated by the Salt family.