Elderly residents cop $14m repair bill for leaky apartment block
Pensioners in an apartment block on Auckland's North Shore have been abruptly asked to find $14 million to fix their leaky building.
The bill was presented to residents of Bay Palms' 65 apartments in Browns Bay by their body corporate administrators, Strata Title Ltd, at a meeting on November 29, but residents voted against the repairs - hoping to pursue a cheaper option.
Of the $14 million repair bill, $6 million had already been paid by residents in November, who at the time believed this to be the full cost of the repairs.
Just this initial $6 million repair payment left many borrowing money from family or selling their apartments because they could not afford the payments.
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The daughter of one elderly couple at Bay Palms, who wished not to be named, said their initial payment of $108,000, which she contributed to, caused enormous stress on her parents: "Just having to rely on children, that's stress in itself."
Residents each paid varying repair costs depending on the number of bedrooms in their apartment.
A Government Financial Assistance Package of $2 million has been made towards the new $14 million repair bill, but it still leaves residents with $6 million to find.
David Bentham is a resident at Bay Palms and said residents in general feel the $14 million total cost includes unnecessary upgrades to the Bay Palms roof.
"What they've got planned is way beyond repair work," Bentham said.
"They've asked for $6 million, we've paid for it, and they're suddenly asking for another $6 million. I think the level of communication could have been better."
Dan O'Leary owns an apartment in the Bay Palms complex and was angry at the burden being placed on elderly residents.
"I think it's appalling for the older people there and I think Maggie Barry as minister of seniors could do something about it," O'Leary said.
National seniors advocacy group Grey Power Auckland director Bill Rayner said there needed to be a payment plan in place to help the elderly residents.
"We are concerned about the impact on senior residents who cannot afford to cover the highly increased costs," Rayner said.
"It's a problem that there's no sort of broad provision under the existing funding arrangements for fixing the leaky homes for people in this position where they could get some sort of soft loan for a few years."
Strata Title Ltd would not provide a comment on the Bay Palms repair dispute when contacted, nor would they reveal the name of the manager who was overseeing the repair work contract.