Rent rise hits day­care cen­tre

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Rent hike: Day­care par­ent Don­nell Alexan­der with chil­dren Tessa Thorn­ley, 23 months, and Rosa Thorn­ley, 4.

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