Land­lord re­futes ‘greedy’ claim


A prop­erty owner has hit back at claims land­lords are ‘‘greedy’’ and says ‘‘bang­ing heads to­gether’’ is not the an­swer.

The is­sue of empty re­tail build­ings in Alexan­dra’s town cen­tre was raised at a may­oral can­di­dates’ meet­ing. Can­di­date Martin McPher­son said land­lords pre­ferred to have empty shops than think out­side the square, some were greedy, and he wanted to lock them in a room and bang their heads to­gether.

John Spark, who has been a land­lord in Alexan­dra for 25 years, said he had rented out a Tal­bert St shop, that had a na­tional ten­ant in 1995, at 50 per cent of the 1995 rental.

‘‘Per­haps if Martin was a ratepayer land­lord he might bet­ter un­der­stand the rental prop­erty busi­ness...The rates have dou­bled, the in­sur­ances have tre­bled since then...ev­ery rate and in­sur­ance in­crease takes away the pos­si­bil­ity of a rent ad­just­ment. The earth­quake sur­vey on this build­ing was done re­cently and pro­duced a fig­ure be­tween $80,000 and $100,000 for re­me­dial work. It is very hard to jus­tify do­ing this work. With­out a ten­ant, de­mo­li­tion is a real pos­si­bil­ity.

‘‘The coun­cil it­self had an empty shop in the town cen­tre - are they also greedy land­lords?’’

It is re­tail - there is not a lot of in­ter­est in re­tail. It is hard and I feel for them. We have dropped the rent - ev­ery ten­ant that has come in, the rent has been less than the ten­ant be­fore. The coun­cil are not mak­ing it any eas­ier...rates keep go­ing up... Any­one that has got an empty shop here, I’m pick­ing if you said to them that you had some­one in­ter­ested in tak­ing your shop, they would nearly bite your hand off. They are keen to do busi­ness. Some rent is bet­ter than no rent at all.’’

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