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City Housing Rent Adjustments

27 March 2008

Rents for City Housing units will increase by 24 per cent to fund deferred maintenance and future replacement of the Christchurch City Council’s 2649 housing units.

The adjustment approved at today’s Council meeting means tenants will pay rent increases of between $5.40 and $9 per week and these increases will take effect in July.

City Housing’s actual increase will not be directly reflected in the rents paid by tenants because of the effect of Work and Income New Zealand’s accommodation supplement, which pays a portion of most City Housing tenants’ rent payments. The supplement offers up to a 70% subsidy on the increased rental.

The Council’s General Manager of Community Services, Michael Aitken, said the Council was totally committed to its role as a provider of social housing, and was the country’s second largest provider of social housing - behind Housing New Zealand.

"City Housing also has to be self funding, and does not get money from rates, which means it has to earn enough to ensure its own future. That means making sure we have enough money to do things like redecorate units, repair paths and fences and ultimately to replace units when they are no longer suitable for rental," he said.

City Housing focuses on providing safe, accessible, and affordable housing to people on low-incomes, including the elderly and people with disabilities, said Mr Aitken.

"Even after this increase, almost all of City Housing’s tenants will be within the Ministry of Social development’s affordability measure of 30% of gross income. It also leaves City Housing’s average rent at only 58% of market rent," Mr Aitken said.

He said the increase follows four years of very modest rent increases and was necessary to ensure the future of the Council’s social housing stock.

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