Lease terms re­jected by res­i­dents

Central Leader - - NEWS - By TOM CARNEGIE

An as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing more than 80 per cent of the lessee houses on the Corn­wall Park Trust Board land has re­jected a pro­posal to ‘‘mod­ernise’’ their lease terms.

The Corn­wall Park Lease­holder As­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sents 110 lessees on the Trust Board land through Green­lane and One Tree Hill.

The trust was es­tab­lished in 1901 to man­age the park and re­lies on lease­hold in­come from its prop­er­ties to meet up­keep and devel­op­ment costs.

The lease dis­cus­sions first started two years ago in an at­tempt by the trust to make a mod­ern lease that bet­ter fits to­day’s mar­ket con­di­tions.

Its key changes in­clude a new lower 3.9 per cent rent rate for the next seven years, com­pared with the cur­rent 5 per cent fixed 21-year rate; the devel­op­ment of sites is no longer banned and lessees are now able to rent or sub­let with­out ap­proval. It is writ­ten in plain english and no longer de­mands five-yearly house re­paint­ing.

As­so­ci­a­tion spokesper­son David Glen says while there are th­ese small benefits, the ma­jor­ity of the pro­posed lease is noth­ing new and fails lessees.

‘‘It is full of benefits for the trust but does noth­ing for the lease­hold­ers,’’ he says.

He says the as­so­ci­a­tion’s main con­cern is over the ab­sence of a free­hold­ing op­tion as some lessees are hav­ing to pay po­ten­tially more than $70,000 an­nu­ally to be on the land.

In 2010 one prop­erty in Maun­gakiekie Ave in­creased from $8300 to $73,750 – an in­crease of 900 per cent – fol­low­ing a sched­uled 21-year re­view of rents,

This lead to the lessee aban­don­ing the prop­erty in 2011. Glen says there are eight to 10 prop­er­ties in the area that sit aban­doned be­cause of th­ese price hikes.

‘‘The other ma­jor lease­hold es­tates in Auck­land – Dil­worth, St John’s Col­lege Trust Board and the Me­lane­sian Mission Trust Board – all mod­i­fied their lease years ago to in­cor­po­rate free­hold­ing.

‘‘Why can’t the Corn­wall Park Trust Board do the same thing? Their rea­sons against are un­jus­ti­fied and con­trary to the long-term best in­ter­ests of the trust and the public who use the park,’’ Glen says.

‘‘This is vi­tal from a mar­ket per­spec­tive and un­til it is sorted out we can make no progress with the trust,’’ he says.

Corn­wall Park direc­tor Michael Ayr­ton says the trust will not adopt a free­hold op­tion be­cause it be­lieves the best way to fund and de­velop the park is through con­tin­u­ing to op­er­ate leases.

Ayr­ton says Corn­wall Park Trust is pleased with the pos­i­tive ini­tial re­sponse to the mod­ern leases, although he ac­cepts lessees may have their own views.

‘‘It will be up to each lessee whether or not they wish to adopt the mod­ern lease,’’ he says.

The lessees have un­til May 7 to let the board know if they will adopt the new lease.

Photo: GRA­HAME COX

Rent re­views have left sev­eral lease­holds aban­doned around Corn­wall Park, in­clud­ing 21 Maungekiekie Ave, where rent in­creased by 900 per cent in 2010.

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