Defence force rents set to rise

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 11:30 07/11/2012

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Defence Force personnel living in service housing at Base Woodbourne are in for a steep rent rise next month.

Their rent is set to increase between 54 and 73 per cent.

Rent for a Defence Force house is between $98 and $152 a week. The increase from December 1 will take that to between $170 and $234 a week, a spokesman said yesterday.

The 120 Defence Force personnel who live in barracks will also pay more rent from January 1, but that increase will not be announced until November 14. At present they pay between $85 and $244 a fortnight.

The Defence Force came under fire in September when it gave staff their first pay rise in four years but countered that by cutting back entitlement and increasing rent for people living on the bases.

Less than a third of Defence Force housing at Base Woodbourne, in Marlborough, is rented to military personnel, according to information from the Defence Force.

It owns 176 houses at Base Woodbourne and 57 of those are rented by Defence Force personnel, with 37 vacant.

The remaining 82 houses are not needed by the Defence Force and are managed by Summit Property Management Ltd.

The rent for civilian tenants was based on market rates and was slightly higher, a Defence Force spokesman said.

The number of leased and vacant houses changed regularly, depending on Defence Force requirements at the base, he said.

Summit Property Management general manager Stewart Henry said of the 82 houses managed by Summit, three houses were vacant and two would be available in the next few weeks.

The rent for these properties was between $220 and $240 a week.

"The rents reflect that we have strict conditions on who may live at Woodbourne in the Defence Force area and this enables us to choose applicants that suit the criteria we have set," Mr Henry said.

On September 17, the Defence Force announced $45 million had been allocated for pay rises. A further $40 million was for a one-off buyback of special entitlements and an additional rent subsidy for troops living in Defence houses was to be removed so they would have no advantage over those living off base.

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- The Marlborough Express

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