Pen­sioner al­lowed to keep cat

The Dominion Post - - Front Page - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Robyn Nielsen will get to keep her cat and her flat.

Porirua City Coun­cil, which owns the Moana Courts com­plex in Ti­tahi Bay, where Nielsen lives, has asked prop­erty man­ager Welling­ton City Coun­cil to make an ex­cep­tion for the pen­sioner and her moggy, called Me.

‘‘The coun­cil rang me yes­ter­day and told me I can keep my cat, and it feels like all my stress is gone,’’ the 66-year-old said.

‘‘I’m not just happy, I’m bloody over the moon.’’

In Septem­ber, Nielsen re­ceived a let­ter from Welling­ton City Coun­cil telling her she had to re­home Me or risk los­ing her Porirua flat, be­cause of the no-pets clause in her ten­ancy agree­ment.

She was told about the pol­icy be­fore she moved in, but said she was con­fused when she saw other ten­ants owned cats.

Af­ter the Welling­ton coun­cil took over man­age­ment of the flats in 2013, it banned pets for new ten­ants, but al­lowed ex­ist­ing ones to keep them.

Nielsen asked to be made an ex­cep­tion, but ear­lier this month the coun­cil re­jected her re­quest.

Porirua city councillor Ross Leggett took up Nielsen’s cause be­cause he thought it was ‘‘com­mon­sense’’ that she be al­lowed to keep Me.

‘‘In cases like this, it should be the land­lord who sets the pol­icy, not the man­ager,’’ Leggett said.

‘‘I ab­so­lutely thought it wasn’t fair.’’

Porirua City Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Wendy Walker said that, af­ter con­sid­er­ing the spe­cific cir­cum­stances of the case, she asked Welling­ton City Coun­cil to make an ex­cep­tion for Nielsen.

Fac­tors in­cluded the na­ture of the prop­erty, which has di­rect gar­den ac­cess, the small num­ber of prop­er­ties in the Porirua coun­cil port­fo­lio, and Nielsen’s cir­cum­stances.

Walker said it didn’t mean the rule had changed for all ten­ants. ‘‘Any other ex­cep­tions would have to be looked at on a case-by-case ba­sis.’’

A Welling­ton City Coun­cil spokes­woman said there would be no change in the rules for the 2000 or more prop­er­ties in its port­fo­lio.

The no-pets clause was due to the po­ten­tial costs of re­pair­ing dam­age to prop­er­ties, she said.

PHOTO: JARED NICOLL/STUFF

Robyn Nielsen is ‘over the moon’ her beloved cat, Me, will be al­lowed to stay in her Moana Court flat in Ti­tahi Bay.

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