Council house sits empty for 15 months
A perfectly good state house has sat empty in east Auckland for 15 months while plans for its area’s redevelopment chopped and changed.
Fully modified for wheelchair users and needing no repairs to be made liveable, this half-empty duplex on Panmure’s Tobruk Rd is at odds with Auckland’s desperate families sleeping in $2000-perweek motels courtesy of Work and Income, in cars, or in tents.
It’s an example of a house in limbo - tenants evicted, but demolition taking longer than expected.
Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Vanessa Cole said that while such homes shouldn’t have been so rashly emptied in the first place, when vacant they ‘‘should really house those in need’’.
‘‘There are houses in Tamaki, Panmure, and Glen Innes that have been empty for five years,’’ she said.
Data from the Ministry of Social Development showed about 1348 people per month applied for emergency accommodation in Auckland between October and December last year.
That’s 10 times more applicants than Wellington - a city with a third of Auckland’s population - had.
The Tobruk Rd home was one of 2500 state houses transferred from Housing New Zealand to the Tamaki Regeneration Company (TRC) in 2016.
Ninety-four of the houses are currently empty and 19 have been so for more than six months, a TRC spokeswoman said.
Over the next 15 years they will all be bowled to make way for 7500 new homes, with the same amount of social housing retained.
TRC chief executive John Holyoak said that not only were the old homes ‘‘past their use-bydate’’, they were barriers to fixing Auckland’s housing deficit.
‘‘There’s no way we can provide more homes if we don’t make room for them.’’
Holyoak said that his company aimed for a ‘‘less than one month’’ period between existing tenants leaving and a home’s demolition.
He also said that some of the empty houses were uninhabitable due to meth contamination or disrepair.
Not 15 Tobruk Rd, however. Holyoak confirmed it was in good shape, and had just been made available for a ‘‘short-term tenancy’’ now its demolition date had been postponed.
This state house has sat empty for more than a year as developers decide what to with it.