Housing trust hones in on rentals


Queenstown’s housing trust wants to tackle the resort’s rental crisis – and potentially build worker accommodation.

The trust has helped almost 100 households buy a house since it was established in 2007, but there are still 300 on its waiting list who meet its criteria.

Trust chairman David Cole told district councillors yesterday there’s a significant shortfall of affordable rentals that will, when built, become a long-term community asset.

The rental shortage has been well documented, particularly this winter, with packed boarding houses cramming in more than 20 people and claims of unscrupulous actions by callous landlords.

Rocketing rental prices have forced some to live in caravans or cars, while others left the district.

Cole: “‘We do have [ideas] about the need for us to make some sort of … investment in worker accommodation.

“I think there is a need … for supporting the transient workers that come to town, who often … can crowd into an Invercargill-owned house … and get a tenure for 11 months of the year because the owners want to come up and spend summer here.” 

If the trust can provide rental accommodation, it will create a secure tenure in appropriate accommodation at an affordable level.

It would require putting ”a bit more equity” into each of the properties and support from funding bodies, like community trusts.
The trust’s in a healthy state, with more than $10 million in net assets on its balance sheet.

It has built 27 homes in Lake Hayes Estate; four in Suffolk St, Arrowtown, with the remaining six to be finished by Christmas; and construction of 44 houses at Shotover Country will start in December.

Some of those properties are in the “rent saver” programme – designed as a stepping-stone to home ownership – while others are in the shared ownership programme.

Queenstown councillor Mel Gazzard asked whether the trust had discussed worker accommodation with employers.

Cole says a series of employer forums were held several years ago but it was poorly attended.

Gazzard replied that may not be the case now, given job vacancies in the resort and the difficulty employers are having to retain staff.

At yesterday’s meeting, the trust and the council signed a memorandum of understanding to clarify their respective roles and formalising the existing arrangement.

Otago Daily Times

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust

• Builds houses and helps home buyers into houses

• Built 27 homes at Lake Hayes Estate10 at Arrowtown finished by Christmas

• 44 to be built at Shotover Country in next 12 months

• Helped almost 100 households with accommodation

• 300 households on waiting list

• Wants to change focus to providing rental and worker accommodation