Fears over derelict homes

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

At least two derelict and po­ten­tially un­safe houses in Porirua have res­i­dents frus­trated and ques­tion­ing the dili­gence of land­lords.

Porirua City Coun­cil has re­ceived com­plaints con­cern­ing prop­er­ties in Gear Tce, Porirua East, and Taupiri Cres, Ti­tahi Bay. Both have poor­ly­main­tained sec­tions, graf­fiti in­side and out, and bro­ken win­dows and doors.

Former city coun­cil­lor Don Bor­rie, who lives near the Ti­tahi Bay ad­dress, said he un­der­stood PCC was in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion as the prop­erty was pri­vate, but be­lieved it had a duty to act.

He said young chil­dren and teenagers were play­ing and hang­ing out in the house, and it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore some­one was in­jured or there was an ar­son.

‘‘This house has been va­cant for about five months and we’re get­ting to the point that there is a health and safety risk at play.

‘‘The city coun­cil should in­ter­vene be­cause they have a re­spon­si­bil­ity for the well­be­ing of this com­mu­nity – how does this prop­erty

This house, in Taupiri Cres, Ti­tahi Bay, is empty, heav­ily-graf­fi­tied and a haunt for peo­ple af­ter dark. con­trib­ute to the well­be­ing?’’

A neigh­bour of the house at 62 Gear Tce said she had been in touch with PCC ‘‘a num­ber of times’’.

Me­tre-high grass, rats, bro­ken fences and an un­ruly ten­ant are some of the is­sues she has en­dured over the past two years.

The wo­man, who did not wish to be iden­ti­fied, said she had spo­ken to the prop­erty’s owner, who lived in Welling­ton.

‘‘There has been some­one liv­ing in it, pay­ing the land­lord rent, for the past few months. But most of the win­dows are bro­ken and you can tell that it snowed in­side the house dur­ing the snow­fall in Au­gust. I feel tremen­dous pity for the per­son in there [who left last week].

I’ve been in this street since 1962, my kids grew up here and I love this area. But I think this is­sue [derelict houses] de­serves me­dia at­ten­tion.’’

Mr Bor­rie said there was a cul­ture of peo­ple buy­ing cheap hous­ing in Porirua with the sole fo­cus of ‘‘mak­ing a buck’’.

‘‘There’s no loy­alty, but it must be some­thing that is acted upon.’’

Kapi-mana News has been made aware of an­other empty and di­lap­i­dated house, in Ngati­toa St, Taka­puwahia.

But PCC environment and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices gen­eral man­ager David Rolfe said derelict houses were not a ma­jor prob­lem in Porirua. He said the coun­cil did not like to see prop­er­ties in ‘‘these sorts of con­di­tion, es­pe­cially with the dan­gers they present’’ and, even if they were pri­vate, would fol­low-up in most in­stances.

‘‘There is no spe­cific leg­is­la­tion that can re­solve these is­sues – we pre­fer to work with the own­ers . . . be­fore we get to a le­gal sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘The le­gal route can be costly for the coun­cil and ratepay­ers, serv­ing no­tices and go­ing to court, which we pre­fer to avoid if pos­si­ble.’’

Mr Rolfe said he was not aware of the sit­u­a­tion at the Gear Tce prop­erty but the coun­cil had made con­tact with the Taupiri Cres owner, who lived over­seas.

While he was hope­ful of a res­o­lu­tion, he said le­gal ad­vice would be sought if re­pairs – even a fence to stop peo­ple gain­ing ac­cess – were not forth­com­ing.

Do­na­tions to Keira’s Char­ity Club of long-life food, or money that will be used to buy food for the food bank, can be made to the Lin­den School of­fice by Fri­day, De­cem­ber 16, or to the St Peter’s Shop in Lin­den un­til noon, Satur­day, De­cem­ber 17, and then again from Jan­uary 24. Can do at­ti­tude: Lin­den School five-year-old Keira Bayliss has set up her own char­ity club to gather food bank do­na­tions, and wants your canned food.

Derelict and dan­ger­ous?:

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