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Council Offers Tenants Chance To Buy

February 21, 2002

Residents of Auckland City-owned residential housing will hear soon how the council will give them the chance to buy their own units.

The council’s Finance and Corporate Business Committee today decided to recommend to the full council that tenants who have lived in a council house for three or more years can be given the option to buy.

If full council agrees to the proposed sale process then tenants would be given two options:

1. Purchase option: the property will be offered at an established market value, less 7.5 per cent.
2. Rent-to-buy option: an agreement to purchase the unit, with a settlement date in 12 months from the signing of the agreement to purchase. The tenant will receive a credit for the rental paid over the 12 months from the time between entering into the agreement until settlement date.

The council owns 128 properties and 12 trust-owned properties – altogether worth about $30 million.

The chairman of the Finance and Corporate Business Committee, Douglas Armstrong, says subsidised housing should be the responsibility of central government as decisions made centrally, applying a standard set of criteria would mean equitable and fair treatment no matter where people lived.

“Assisting some low income earners into subsidised accommodation should come out of general taxation rather than out of rates, which places an unfair burden on Auckland home-owners.

There is no consistency as to who needs this accommodation either locally or nationally.”

He said a proposal to sell, on the open market, the remaining rental properties, and the properties which were not purchased by qualifying tenants, would be included in the Council’s Draft Annual Plan, which would be released for public discussion on April 19.

A final decision on the sale of these properties would be made at the end of June. If, at this point, the council agreed to sell the remaining properties the sale would take place progressively over a couple of years.

“There will be no fire sale.

“We will also ensure that all tenants will be given tenancy protection until 31 March 2003 and most importantly we will ensure that any tenants who would qualify for council pensioner housing are offered accommodation in council pensioner units," he said.

This is not the first time the Council has put in place a programme for selling its rental houses.

In June 1996 the council resolved to sell its residential housing stock. At that time 34 tenants bought their properties. The sale process was halted when a new council took over in 1998.

ENDS

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