Rent rise hits daycare centre
A children’s daycare centre facing a 24 percent rent hike is pleading for help.
The Auckland City Council has raised the rent for the Kids at Play centre in Mt Eden by $7500 a year, based on a market rent valuation.
Parent committee member Donnell Alexander says they can’t afford the increase, the second in two years.
“We can’t justify putting the fees up to parents again. It’s been a pretty difficult year for families in terms of fuel and food and costs.
“We’ve already increased fees by 5 percent this year, which, along with all the other increases, has been hard on families.”
The not-for-profit daycare centre serves about 60 families, who already contribute to fundraising initiatives.
And a much-needed $200,000 upgrade of the 100-year-old building will be funded through grants, fundraising, and money saved from maintenance budgets.
Ms Alexander says the centre would have to fork out for costly legal fees and valuations to challenge the increase.
They’ve already failed to have their lease reassessed on a community lease, rather than a commercial one.
With no other options, the centre applied to the Eden Albert Community Board for a rent reduction. The matter was referred to the council’s community services committee, who earlier this month called for officers to investigate further.
At the meeting, chairman Paul Goldsmith asked why the council should contribute.
“Why should ratepayers subsidise that, when ratepayers may well have their own children and be paying daycare for them?”
Council property manager John O’Brien says the rent review was based on an assessment by an independent registered valuer. It’s based on factors including the standard of the property and rental values of similar properties in the area.
Mr O’Brien says the centre would need to em- ploy their own valuer to challenge the decision.
Community board chairman Christopher Dempsey says the council’s lease policy needs to be updated to accommodate groups like the daycare centre.
“It’s not anybody doing anything wrong here. It’s just the policy not covering what they’re doing.”
Rent hike: Daycare parent Donnell Alexander with children Tessa Thornley, 23 months, and Rosa Thornley, 4.