Council to keep flats but won't manage them

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 09:36 11/12/2012

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The Moana Court flats in Titahi Bay will remain as social housing and in Porirua City Council ownership, a meeting is expected to confirm tomorrow night.

The council recently considered selling the 26 units due to the expense of upkeep and the belief it could be managed more effectively by a housing provider. Moana Court is the only residential housing owned by PCC.

Many tenants have been anxiously waiting for a decision on the future of their homes.

Due to commercial sensitivity, the issue was discussed as non- public business at a committee meeting last week and a final decision on the management of the flats is expected at tomorrow's council meeting.

Kapi-Mana News understands the council will retain ownership but Moana Court will be managed by another party.

Tenants will be means-tested and may face an increase in rent, which stands at $77 a week. This would allow maintenance and upgrade costs to be better absorbed into council budgets.

Long-term Moana Court tenants Robert Overend and Dave Fletcher were happy but cautious when they learnt of the decision.

"It's good news but it depends on the detail," Mr Overend said. "The council has this idea that rents are low but they are struggling to re-tenant the [five] empty units and rents of $100 a week or more may keep people away.

"This all comes down to the contract with the new managers."

Mr Fletcher, who gathered a petition to stop the sale of Moana Court earlier this year, says PCC's decision is a step in the right direction.

"Putting the management with someone else is not necessarily the right solution but it will be better than this council, who are not competently managing the place."

Based on his own calculations, Mr Fletcher believes PCC already makes a healthy profit on Moana Court and its sale should never have been an option.

Had the council decided to sell Moana Court, a Public Works Act requirement would have forced it to first offer the flats to family of the land's previous owner.

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