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