Te Awamutu Courier - 2021-06-10


Pensioner housing rents on the rise


Why are our council owner pensioner housing rents being increased by 9.1 per cent when rates are only rising 4.1 per cent? Ratepayers would chuck the mayor and councillors out if they faced an increase like that. Why are they increasing our rents at all and what is the money being spent on? If the money raised from pensioner units is retained for servicing and improving these units then it is not apparent from where we stand. The council measured our units for double glazing a couple of years ago, but nothing has happened. None of us tenants raised these questions at the hastily convened meeting, but if we had we would have been brushed aside. It needs someone with some sort of public presence or authority to raise these matters with council. They will not listen to us. The rent rise this year will leave us tenants with approximately 50 per cent of our net income after the rent is paid. This equates to about $250 or less weekly to pay all our other bills and buy food and other sundries. Some will get less than that. I know there are others worse off, but these are pensioner units and we have no real option of finding other accommodation. Therefore, we are at the mercy of the whims of council. Colin E Walters Council responds: Rents for our 93 pensioner housing units in Kihikihi, Cambridge and Te Awamutu have not increased for the last two years. This year, from 6 July 2021 rents will increase by between $20 and $30 per week. Rent is capped at 30 per cent of gross national superannuation, after taking the maximum accommodation supplement applicable to the rental into account or market rent, whichever is lower. We have put this policy in place to provide some certainty for our tenants and to provide a more affordable option for our community which will allow people to stay in Waipa¯ . Our pensioner housing is not subsidised by ratepayers and we don’t make money from these properties. Income received is reinvested back into these units which are constantly being maintained and upgraded. A double glazing programme is underway, which has recently seen Wallace Court retro fitted.


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