Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Family can stay for now

Housing NZ gave grieving son three weeks to find a new home for his young family.

Kyle, left, Moana and husband Nathan, and William Marsters. Photo / Doug Sherring
Kyle, left, Moana and husband Nathan, and William Marsters. Photo / Doug Sherring

A heavy burden rests on Nathan Marsters' young shoulders - but finding a place for his grieving family to live is no longer one of them.

Three weeks ago, the father-of-two lost his dad Joel to lung cancer.

A week later, Housing New Zealand told 25-year-old Marsters that he, his wife, their young children and his 16-year-old twin brothers - for whom Marsters is applying for guardianship to fulfil solo dad Joel's last wishes - had less than a month to move out of their father's Northcote state house.

Housing NZ doesn't allow relatives to inherit tenancy agreements, but Marsters couldn't understand why Housing NZ would not let the family continue to rent the three-bedroom home until a bigger house was available.

"I'm finding it pretty stressful, I'd rather not be evicted without somewhere to go. I haven't had time to grieve for my dad," he told the Herald on Sunday on Tuesday.

The following day, Housing NZ was in contact to tell Marsters the family could remain in the house.

A delighted Marsters described his relief at "finally being in a stable situation".

"We don't have to be concerned about having nowhere to go. I wasn't so worried about myself but I was worried for my brothers."

Joel Marsters left a legacy of love for his children, but little else. The domestic purposes beneficiary had rented the Northcote home for $100 a week. Nathan Marsters, a former drainlayer who is struggling to find work, supports his own family on a $500-a-week combined benefit with his wife and said he couldn't afford market rentals in the suburb the family has called home all their lives.

He had just moved his family in before his father's death, and two other adult brothers who also live at the house had been planning to move out with Nathan taking responsibility for the 16-year-olds, but the family will now consider applying for a state house to keep a roof over all their heads.

"Dad always said he'd rather we stayed together. He was the best dad ever. He pretty much gave up his life to look after my brothers."

Housing NZ regional manager of tenancy services Neil Adams confirmed the family could stay at the house while their housing needs were assessed.

"This is always an upsetting time for families and while these discussions must be had, we must always be sensitive to a family's distress. We do apologise if upset was caused."

- NZ Herald

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