The Government is progressing its ambitious Social Housing Reform Programme and the Housing New Zealand (HNZ) owned properties in Christchurch are the second tranche to be proposed for transfer, following the appointment of Accessible Properties as the preferred provider for 1124 properties and tenancies in Tauranga.
Mr English said that his 24 November’s announcement signals the beginning of the Market Sounding phase of the commercial process.
“One of the principle aims of the Government’s reform programme is to encourage more diverse ownership of social housing from providers who can more easily put tenant needs first.
“Another objective is for community housing providers to redevelop social housing to better match the needs of people in need.
“In Christchurch, Housing New Zealand has done an excellent job of repairing and rebuilding its earthquake-damaged stock but one in five of those properties are underutilised. There is now an opportunity for a private provider to renew, reconfigure and develop the properties to better match demand, and to finish earthquake remediation work,” he says.
The proposal is for a single transfer transaction of between 2000 to 2500 HNZ properties, mainly in Bryndwyr, Riccarton and Shirley, while HNZ will continue to own and manage up to 3900 properties in other areas of the city.
Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett says the Government’s clear expectation of any ownership transfer is that any community housing provider must show it can improve the quality of services to tenants.
“As we have said of other transfers, our bottom line is that tenant rights will remain the same and tenants will continue to be housed for the duration of their need.
“Any successful bidder will enter a 25-year contract with MSD to provide housing places. These houses cannot be sold and must remain in use as social housing unless the Government agrees otherwise.
“They’ll also need to prove they have strong community links with social service providers, and they must be New Zealand registered community housing providers.”
Existing tenants are being informed of the proposal and assured that until such time as they have a new landlord, it will be business as usual with HNZ as their current landlord.
An information pack will be released to potential providers next month, and those interested will be invited to a Market Sounding session with Treasury early next year.
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