Retirees in talks to buy village

Residents of Richmond's Waimea Village are considering taking over the complex themselves after more than two years of conflict, while those with outstanding rental debt face the prospect of leaving their homes.

After a controversial arbitration process resulted in monthly rental fees being raised from $125 to $182.76 last November, many of those living in the retirement village refused to pay the extra sum.

The villagers were permitted to remain in arrears for 60 days before their lease was forfeit, but that grace period ran out last week.

The lease agreement states that once a resident's lease is forfeit, they have 28 days to move out.

Owner Michael Wright is legally entitled to take possession of any property that remains after that time and sell it to recoup outstanding costs.

Mr Wright confirmed that he had been in touch with solicitor Graeme Downing to put these consequences into action.

He said the lease forfeiture did not mean immediate eviction but residents who lost their lease would have to leave the village.

Mr Wright said repayments had been arriving "left, right and centre" in a disordered state, some without any names or references attached. He said he was still trying to figure out which of the residents had paid up and which had debts outstanding.

"I just think everybody will pay. I can't imagine anyone not paying," said Mr Wright.

He confirmed he was in talks with people representing the committee about a possible sale, but declined to elaborate further.

Residents' committee chair Jerry Rowland said the committee was serious about the prospect of buying Waimea Village. Tasman district councillors Judene Edgar and Kit Maling are researching the move, aided by Grey Power representative Pam Coltman.

Flyers have been distributed around the village seeking residents' input. Mr Rowland said the villagers he had spoken to felt good about the sale.