Ten­ancy man­agers over­come ob­sta­cles

Papakura Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - CHRIS HARROWELL

Deal­ing with noisy ten­ants and prop­erty dam­age is all in a day’s work for Housing NZ staff.

East and South Auck­land re­gional man­ager Karen Hitch­cock leads a team that looks af­ter 15,500 homes. She says lo­cal ten­ancy man­agers each have about 280 prop­er­ties in their port­fo­lios.

‘‘We only house peo­ple who are the high­est pri­or­ity on the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment’s so­cial housing reg­is­ter.

‘‘We’re a so­cial land­lord, but we’re also more than that. We’ve got more fam­i­lies now who are strug­gling and have got com­plex needs than we did five years ago.’’

Those on the so­cial housing reg­is­ter have an A or B pri­or­ity rat­ing that in­di­cates their need.

Those with an A rat­ing are the first to be helped into a home by Housing NZ or an­other provider. Hitch­cock says the agency in­spects most of its prop­er­ties at least once a year.

‘‘Un­der the Res­i­den­tial Ten­an­cies Act we can in­spect them ev­ery four weeks and we do for some of them, but the ma­jor­ity of our fam­i­lies are not on that in­spec­tion cy­cle.’’

When a ten­ancy man­ager re­ceives a com­plaint about a ten­ant they will first meet with them to dis­cuss the prob­lem, Hitch­cock says. Most mi­nor is­sues can be re­solved with a con­ver­sa­tion.

‘‘We re­mind them of their obli­ga­tion and find out if we need to get any­one else in­volved to pro­vide sup­port. We can put a house­hold ac­tion plan in place and we try to deal with it be­fore it es­ca­lates.’’

When a ten­ancy needs to be ended the ten­ant can be evicted, Hitch­cock says. Rea­sons may in­clude phys­i­cal harm to­ward a Housing NZ ten­ancy man­ager or con­trac­tor, or a neigh­bour.

‘‘We will ter­mi­nate a ten­ancy if a house is no longer safe to live in through metham­phetamine con­tam­i­na­tion, or if the ten­ant is us­ing the premises for il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity such as sup­ply­ing drugs.’’

Tavai Kara­pani is the agency’s area man­ager for Manukau. She’s in charge of 10 ten­ancy and two se­nior man­agers.

The chal­lenges lo­cal ten­ancy man­agers deal with in­clude an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, noise is­sues, dam­age to the prop­erty, al­co­hol and drugs, and dis­putes with neigh­bours, she says.

Kara­pani says the agency’s ten­ancy man­agers want their clients to suc­ceed.

‘‘I’d like the public to know that we do care. They [ten­ants] are the rea­sons why we serve peo­ple. They do mat­ter to us.’’

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