Good afternoon all,
As you may or may not be aware, I am a social housing tenant.
I stood in front of our council on the 22nd of August, and stated what it was like living in one of these units. How in summer it only gets to about 8 degrees, and in winter it only gets to 0 degrees without heating. My winter power bills are currently $350 a month in a 50sq metre uninsulated unit.
Now it was announced from Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall on the council’s own website last night, that they are estimating $16 million on upgrading their units but only seeking a loan of $10 million at the sacrifice of “internal decorating”.
I currently work in a hardware store, I’m sure I can get some paint brushes to help with this, and I am also sure I can get some paint from the same store.
The website continues to say and I quote. “We want our tenants to live in healthy homes so we’ve done such things as install insulation, upgrade their heating, put in curtains, draught stopping, pipe lagging, and stick-on double glazing”
I have had bubble wrap on the bedroom windows, does that count as insulation or stick-on double glazing? Updated heating, does a Skope wall mounted fan heater from the 80’s count as updated?
The standards that we have in New Zealand are currently not the best. The sub-standard conditions of some of the rentals can have a major effect on every tenant.
This can impact on the local economy, costing millions of dollars a year in lost productivity. It also impacts on the health of the tenants costing tax payers millions of dollars a year in medical assistance. What’s more important is the mental health of our tenants. We don’t know the cost of people who end up having a mental issues from sub-standard housing, but I am guessing millions of dollars a year.
Recently, in fact on the 24th August, I ended up with another severe chest infection and I am just seeing the end of it. My son has had 3 weeks off from school that he will never get back, due to the sub-standard housing we live in.
I personally believe that Central Government Healthy Homes Initiative starts the process but I believe it doesn’t go far enough. If I am elected, I will push for a higher standard of new housing stock in Christchurch as we move forward, including but not limited to, higher R value insulation, more energy efficient heating, better ventilation systems.
What may cost us a few hundreds of dollars now will save us thousands, if not millions, later.
Good morning Councilors;
My name is Stephen McPaike and I currently reside in Haast Courts.
I moved into my unit in July 2016 due to unforeseen circumstances in my life. During my time in this unit, I have lost 2 queen size beds, clothes, linen due to mold. Unfortunately, it’s not the only thing I have lost. I have ended up quite ill on average two or three times per winter season and have been unable to go to my place of employment for up to a week at a time, thus losing income. My son has also been sick for three weeks and has not been able to attend school due to this.
I come to you today to see an improvement to Council owned Social Housing Units.
The 2017 Christchurch Housing Accord, that ended on 31st December 2018, states under section 22, that “The Government and Christchurch City Council agree to: Improve the supply and quality of social and affordable housing.” It also states in section 32 “The Accord identifies the intention of the Government and Council to work together to address issues affecting social and affordable housing in Christchurch.”
In the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan dated 2018-2028 it is mentioned that “adequate housing is a basic requirement… people must have access to adequate housing to meet their need.” This document continues to say “Good quality housing is required for healthy communities” which tenants in some of these units are still waiting to see.
Recently, OCHT and City Council have been getting a lot of bad media attention starting in 2018 with the following articles:
- Tenants want action on damp Christchurch social housing units (24/4/2018)
- She insulated her Christchurch council flat – now she says she’ll be asked to remove it when she goes (25/07/2018)
- Council flats landlord ordered to repay tenants after overcharging for ‘dated’, 1-bedroom unit (24/08/2018)
- Christchurch trust overcharging for dated, uninsulated council flats it claims are ‘A grade’ (08/11/2018)
- Social housing provider bubble wraps windows after tenant complains of cold (27/11/2018)
- Christchurch City Council claims insulation for social housing would cost up to $6m (02/08/2019)
- 930 Christchurch council units without insulation (05/08/2018)
- Why are Christchurch’s most vulnerable tenants freezing in council homes? (10/08/2018)
All articles are from www.stuff.co.nz as of 12/08/19
When I moved into Haast Courts, I notice that there is a power hungry Skope wall mounted fan heater. To change this, I (and all tenants) would have to buy a heat pump, pay for the installation of the device, and to pay for the removal of this device as well as repairs to the unit when our tenancy ends.
How is this possible for low income tenants to afford this? I have sort information on assistance from Ministry for Social Development (also known as Work and Income) and was told that they will not assist for a heating device for my unit as it falls under the land owners responsibility.
I am sure that you, the Council, will ask how are we going to insulate the approximately 43% of our social housing stock without costing rate payers too much. Here is an idea, stop spending millions of dollars on (currently unwanted) cycle lanes and use the money to insulate and double glaze these units.
It has also been announced that CCC will be giving a loan to OCHT of $30 million to “build an additional 130 social houses for Christchurch. The Trust will also replace 50 existing ‘old and cold’ units with 50 new, warm, dry units.” This is a small step but it is defiantly not enough.
Pink Batts have insulation available for ceilings, skillion roofs, mid floors, floors and walls. Other than Pink Batts the following hardware stores have other products that can be intergraded into the social housing units.
- Mitre 10 has Bradford Gold insulation.
- Placemakers has GreenStuff insulation.
- Bunnings has GreenStuff and Earthwool.
If you think that we should continue to live in these units, when both Local and Central Government are pushing for healthier homes, maybe we, as tenants, should ask you the question, “Are you willing to live in one of these units?”
I believe not. So, what will you, the council do to help, and how will you inform your tenants?
Thank you for your time
When you’re thinking about buying a home the question at the top of your mind is how much can you borrow and then how much should you borrow.
When you’re thinking about buying an investment property the only thing you’re thinking about is how much you can borrow.
The difference is because when you’re renting something out you’re earning money on the money you’ve borrowed, when you’re buying for yourself you’re just paying for what you’re living in so you want to consider the balance between lifestyle and paying down debt and growing equity.
This year I’ve spent a bit of time hanging out with the Williams Corporation team at their investment buyer evenings (I think I’ve been to three now!). One thing they point out is the value of borrowing as much money as you can because you can earn money on the banks money.
LVR rules mean you need at least 20% deposit for a new build unless you’re a first time home buyer and leveraging your Kiwisaver…. the council isn’t buying it’s first home.
The current rateable value of our social housing stock is over $325 million dollars so I’m keen to get busy and borrow some… how about $1.3 billion dollars?
On Sunday I had an interesting conversation with Anne Galloway, the city councilor for Halswell. Like many, she goes to pains to point out that we can’t fund social housing from rates. Frankly I’m at a bit of a loss why people keep prattling this comment and am feeling a bit white washed. I can’t help feeling that this whole social housing thing is a bit like an episode of “Yes Minister” and we’re all being played.
Not only should social housing not be funded from rates but it should also bring our city a large return.
I did some quick math…
I wondered how many units we could build if we borrowed everything we could and just asked Williams Corp to build for us (at their published book value). Of course we wouldn’t ask then to build at book value and we already have the free land, so we can’t factor that. So I pondered how many we could build if I took the current average unit value, but of course that number is no good either because it looks very much like most of our stock is over valued in the market given what we should be able to build for currently (though don’t tell the bank that because I want to use my existing stock to secure the loans!)
I decided that I should just factor the Williams Corp price, the current rent, cost of borrowings at councils 2.5% and as much money as I could borrow and figured out that we should earn $19.5m a year. That fixes the problem of finding funds to run the stadium!
Ok, so these are just scatter gun numbers because it leaves out so much information and makes to many assumptions, but it does make me wonder why we’re messing about and not getting busy with a massive building program to at least get us another 1,000 homes build withing the next 18 months!
In the mean time my wife flicked me a pdf link that she’d found while looking for something else, which is just full of enlightening reading. At first I was wondering what the heck it was all about but then it occurred that this isn’t just economic, it’s political too!
The council has been moving housing into a trust because it wants to be able to claim government assistance for tenants while giving the tenants lower rents. But council also has the ability to raise massive amounts of capital and the tax payer is paying the bill.
I haven’t read all the detail, but clearly lawyers at The Treasury are interested.
The other numbers I also considered is how quickly the council can pay off its borrowings. Our council is already very wealthy, Raf Manji expressed recently that CCC is worth $13b dollars.
I’m sure it’s an issue for some that growing our housing stock means growing the wealth of our council and currently we have an increasingly wealthy and powerful council.
I can’t help wondering how much of this is all about improving the quality of housing in our city and country v’s more scrapping about who’s budget stuff goes on… hummm…. those who know me know just how bothered I get about that issue!
Well the good news is that the front yard clean up at Harman Courts got finished today! Yeah!
Let’s hope there aren’t to many more of these sorts of issues hiding in the wood work because they’re really expensive! They’re expensive because once they start, the rubbish just keeps pilling in as was seen at Harman Courts.
Thanks to everyone involved in following it up.
The biggest learning for CCC and OCHT from this should be that when you say you’re going to do something, give yourself enough time! If you’d said it will take 3 weeks then sure, we would have questioned why we can’t get resources sorted sooner, but saying 24 hours was likely a bit unrealistic too. 🙂
I think the biggest thought for tenants has to be that if you see someone moving out and can see they’re over whelmed with rubbish then reach out for help! The dump just isn’t that expensive, plenty of places have a free/borrow trailer and we can put the hat around for dumping fees if your stuck, we can also put the hat around for petrol money.