Tauranga's pensioner villages should stay as housing for the elderly and not become general social housing.

That was the main concern of one tenants' representative yesterday, as a Tauranga City Council committee voted to proceed with a plan to sell nine council-owned pensioner villages to one or more community housing providers.

Girven Village tenant Stan Lilley, who represented tenants' views on the council's elder housing advisory group, said most tenants accepted that the status quo - council-owned and run elder housing - was no longer an option.

He said tenants liked "being under the council umbrella" and would be most comfortable with an arrangement that would see the council retaining an interest in the villages.

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"But whichever way they go it is most important that they remain as villages for elderly people," he said.

In Christchurch some pensioner housing had become general social housing, which had caused issues for elderly tenants, he said.

The council's project manager Anne Blakeway said in Christchurch studio flats in some villages had "attracted the wrong kind of people".

She said the council would need to put covenants in any sale agreement to protect existing tenants, including how long they would be allowed to live there and the level of rent they were paying.

Mayor Greg Brownless said that in the past elder housing had been provided at no cost to ratepayers - it paid for itself.

"That not going to happen in the future."

The mounting maintenance costs of the ageing villages - four of which will need to be redeveloped in the next two decades - meant either ratepayers would have to start chipping in or rent would increase - 44 per cent over 10 years according to council estimates.

Neither option was acceptable, he said, leaving the council with no choice but to look at other avenues.

Councillor Leanne Brown said the devil would be in the details.

"We need to make sure tenants have security and that rents aren't going to go up exponentially."

Councillor Larry Baldock said he did not think the council had done a particularly good job in its 40 years as an elder housing provider and it was best if someone else delivered the service.

"We'd like them (tenants) to be happier and I think this way forward will likely to provide a better living situation."

Committee chairman Terry Molloy said tenant welfare was the primary consideration.


What happens next

- November 21 - committee's recommendation goes before full council for a vote
- If supported it the change will go into the draft Long Term Plan 2018-28
- March/April 2018 - Draft Long Term Plan out for public consultation
- June 2018 - Final decision made

Source: Tauranga City Council
Public elder housing in Tauranga

- 246 units in nine villages
- spread across Greerton, Mount Maunganui and central Tauranga
- all units occupied except one
- tenants pay 51 per cent of what market rent would be
- 119 units slated for replacement in next two decades
- estimated replacement cost $34.3m

Source: Tauranga City Council