Pensioners: Rent rise OK

20:56, Jan 22 2013

Pensioners living in accommodation owned by Matamata-Piako District Council will pay an extra $26.50 a week by July 1.

Weekly rent for elderly pensioner housing flats went up last week by 11 per cent from $108.50 to $120. It will increase a further 12.5 per cent to $135 by July.

Any new tenants will pay the full amount of $135 from the time they move in.

Service delivery group manager Fiona Vessey said the increased rent would meet the rise in maintenance costs.

"We believe the rent is value for money," she said.

"It is still ten per cent below market value and for their rent, they have their lawns mowed, rates and insurance paid and they can phone [the] council 24 hours a day with any queries or issues."

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All tenants were consulted before any increase to rent, and informed of subsidy options available through Work and Income, she said.

The council owns 109 pensioner flats, with six complexes in Matamata, as well as three in Te Aroha and three in Morrinsville.

One Matamata tenant, who did not want to be named, said although she would have to be more careful with money, the new rent seemed fair.

"I think it's still a very reasonable price and, with the cost of everything else going up, [the council] has to pay for it from somewhere.

"You can't have something like this and not keep up to date with what else is going on."

The tenant said there were places in New Zealand where council-owned accommodation was no longer available.

Another tenant said they were paying almost twice as much rent before moving into their council- owned flat.

"We can't complain really."

For more information contact the council on 07 884 0060.

Matamata Chronicle