Accessible Properties preferred provider in Tauranga

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IHC subsidiary Accessible Properties has been chosen as the preferred provider to take over the ownership of Housing New Zealand's properties in Tauranga, Ministers Bill English and Paula Bennett say.

Accessible Properties was one of three shortlisted respondents asked to submit a formal proposal to purchase the 1124 properties and take over the management of their tenancies.

The Government was now working with Accessible Properties to finalise the agreement. It was expected negotiations will be completed by October with a final decision to be made shortly after.

Minister Responsible for Housing New Zealand Corporation Bill English said the Government was impressed with the calibre of the respondents who made it this far.

"One of the Government's Social Housing Reform Programme objectives is to develop more diverse ownership of social housing in order to provide better housing services.

The status quo - of one very large state-run provider - is not doing a good enough job supporting vulnerable people," Mr English said.

"Letting community organisations provide housing support and services to better connect tenants to the other social agencies they need is a critical way of doing that.

"It was encouraging to see so many community housing providers demonstrating they had the ability to provide tenancy and property management from a sound, sustainable financial base, as well as being able to offer iwi and wider community links."

Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said it was a commitment the transfers do not change tenants' eligibility for social housing, they will continue to be supported for as long as they need, and their tenancy conditions remain the same.

"The Government has previously worked with Accessible Properties on some fantastic social housing developments, so we are pleased they have been selected to negotiate.

"Our bottom line remains that any properties transferred must remain as social housing and cannot be sold unless the Government agrees otherwise.

"Accessible Properties are as committed as the Government to improving the way we provide social housing in New Zealand, and we look forward to continuing this work with them."

Accessible Properties had been managing housing for vulnerable people for more than 60 years, and currently looks after over 1600 properties throughout New Zealand.

If final negotiations are successful, Accessible Properties would take over from Housing New Zealand as the landlord and tenancy manager within the first half of 2017.

Social housing transactions were a part of the Government's comprehensive plan to house more vulnerable people and increase the supply of homes for them.

auranga and Bay of Plenty MPs are welcoming news that the preferred bidder for the potential transfer of 1,124 Housing NZ properties in Tauranga has been selected from a short-list of community housing providers.

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller today acknowledged IHC subsidiary, Accessible Properties, after it was chosen as the preferred bidder to potentially take over the ownership and management of social housing in Tauranga.

"This is a real positive for Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty," Mr Bridges said.

"Over time, the Government wants social housing services to become better linked with other support tenants may need, such as budgeting or mental health services. This will be of real benefit in terms of offering additional support for those with social housing and other needs in Tauranga and the wider area."

Mr Muller said any properties transferred were required to remain in use as social houses and could not be sold unless Government specifically agreed otherwise.

"The Government would only give that approval if a particular house is no longer needed, or it is to be redeveloped to better match local current and future social housing needs, Mr Muller said.

Mr Bridges and Mr Muller wanted to reassure tenants that they will continue to be housed for the duration of their need and enjoy at least the same terms and conditions of tenancy under specialist housing providers as they currently experience with Housing NZ.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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