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17 October 2017
Waipa District Council wants to change its pensioner housing policy to ensure rents remain affordable.
Council owns 129 one and two-bedroom pensioner housing units across eight complexes in Cambridge, Kihikihi and Te Awamutu.
The 138 tenants pay market rents for the units; rents are not subsidised by ratepayers. The move to market rents was made in 2015 with rents set by an independent valuer. The amount of rent paid is dependent on the complex and size of the unit.
Council is proposing to change its policy to ensure future pensioner housing rents, after taking into account the government accommodation supplement, will be no greater than 30% of the gross amount of National Superannuation.
Property manager John Miles said the proposed change will not have a significant impact on most existing tenants. But it would provide protection against rents rising to unaffordable levels in the future.
"We're conscious of the increasing cost of living and know full well that having a limited income can make it difficult for older people to manage," Miles said.
"Given that, we think it's appropriate to lock in some formal protections so tenants can enjoy their units with some certainty about what the future holds."
Council is also proposing to change its policy to ensure that, in future, units will only be available to those aged 65 and over. A small number of existing tenants are currently aged under 65. They would be welcome to stay on in their units even if the change goes ahead, Miles said. Any change would only affect future applicants.
The council is consulting with existing tenants on the proposed changes before they are formally considered by elected members later in the year.
Media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell (on behalf of council) 027 507 7599