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Lower rent for many low income Aucklanders

Lower rent for many low income Aucklanders

About 1700 Aucklanders have a new landlord from today, and for many the change means there is less rent to pay, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Acting Housing Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Today the government formally takes over the houses previously owned by the Auckland City Council. About $82 million was paid for the homes, which include 1542 pensioner units and 124 residential housing units. An additional $75 million will be spent upgrading and redeveloping the properties over the next five years.

Acting Housing Minister Steve Maharey said low income tenants who qualify for an income related rent will pay no more than 25 per cent of their income on rent.

“About 95 percent of the former Auckland City Council tenants who applied for an income related rent were found to be eligible. On average they will pay up to $25 less in weekly rent,” Mr Maharey said.

Helen Clark said she was proud that the government had acted so decisively to secure the homes.

“Most of the people affected are superannuitants. They have endured enormous stress in the last year as the threat of a sell-off hung over them.

“If the government had not bought these houses, many older Aucklanders would have been pushed out of the communities where they have lived all their lives. I am glad the government has been able to allay those fears and give these people the peace of mind they deserve.”

Mr Maharey said that the next step was to begin upgrading and redeveloping the properties.

“Planning and investigation work is underway, and some work could start within six months, but it will be a gradual process over the five year period.

“As the work programme begins, tenants will be contacted and some may be temporarily relocated while their properties are modernised.”

In addition to the work being planned for the former Auckland City Council properties, the government plans to acquire about 650 additional properties in the Auckland area through building, buying or leasing this financial year, said Mr Maharey.

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