11 May 2012

Housing NZ tenants given a week to leave

7:04 am on 11 May 2012

Tenants at a Housing New Zealand complex in central Wellington say their lives have been thrown into disarray after being told to leave their homes within a week.

On Thursday, the agency told the 130 tenants at the Gordon Wilson flats on The Terrace that the facade is in such bad condition concrete could fall in high winds or an earthquake.

Housing New Zealand said tenants must be relocated so urgent work needed on the facade can be carried out, though the building itself is safe.

Tenants are stunned by the sudden move and say they have been put in a state of limbo as they are unsure where they will be placed.

Housing New Zealand has only 30 spare units in central Wellington, which will mean a large number of tenants will have to move to properties in Porirua or Lower Hutt.

Tenancy Services manager Jackie Pivac says the agency is doing its best to support tenants. "Anyone who's told that their home is unsafe and they have to move in a very short time does get a shock," she said.

The agency will pay for relocation costs but there will be no compensation. Housing New Zealand says demolishing the 1950s-era building is an option.