Otago Daily Times

Council defends proposed rent rise


- LUISA GIRAO luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

IF a proposed rent increase for council units goes ahead, rates would still be cheaper than the market, a council manager says.

The Invercargi­ll City Council is consulting on a proposal to hike rent by 35% for its 215 units used to house elderly people on limited incomes.

Residents spoken to by the the Otago Daily

Times last week were stressed about the proposal.

However, council infrastruc­ture group manager Erin Moogan said the units would still be about $100 cheaper than the market rate.

The proposal would cover improvemen­ts to the council’s community housing portfolio, upgrading existing units to meet Healthy Homes Standards, she said.

It would also provide for future upgrades, as well as the provision of new units in the future.

‘‘We are aiming to have heat pumps installed in all units in the 202122 financial year.

‘‘Our staff will provide oneonone training with tenants on how to use their heat pump, and they will be maintained for the tenants.’’

She stressed community housing portfolio was not funded by rates and it was a selffundin­g service.

‘‘Feedback from general ratepayers is that they do not want their rates to contribute to the service.

‘‘This means that in order to meet council’s goals of providing quality, affordable community housing with a sound, futureproo­fed maintenanc­e plan, an increase in rent is required.’’

Ms Moogan said the proposed increase would vary depending on the unit, but highlighte­d the majority of council’s tenants were eligible for the accommodat­ion supplement through Work and Income New Zealand.

‘‘This has been considered as part of the proposed increase. The accommodat­ion supplement will assist tenants to pay for the increase.’’

Tenants have until February 8 to provide their feedback, and hearings will follow for those who wish to speak to their submission­s.

 ??  ?? Erin Moogan
Erin Moogan

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