Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Park board destroying residents' property values, claims lessee

One Tree Hill property annual ground rentals have rocketed. Photo / Doug Sherring
One Tree Hill property annual ground rentals have rocketed. Photo / Doug Sherring

A hard-nosed attitude by the Cornwall Park Trust Board is destroying property values, says one lessee.

"Sir John Logan Campbell would be turning in his grave," said lawyer John Carter about Auckland's founding father who gifted the park to the city and created the leasehold properties around its perimeter.

The Carter Kirkland Morrison partner, who lives on a leasehold Wheturangi Rd site, called on board members to act reasonably.

He questioned the board's rent-fixing formula which he said was different from most other Auckland ground leases.

For board properties, valuers are required to assess the total value of the property - land and improvements - then deduct improvements and the balance becomes the land value to which a 5 per cent rental factor is applied.

But with most other ground leases, valuers are required to assume the land is vacant, Carter said.

It was not surprising people were walking off the land, he said, telling how his annual ground rent of $2375 was reviewed in December 2004 and shot up to $40,000 a year.

Carter said he was one of the most experienced leasehold land lawyers "yet curiously I was not approached by the trust board in their recent letter to establish a reference group to address some of the lessees' concerns".

He also expressed strong doubts about changes to the lease.

"If seven-year rent reviews and 7 per cent multipliers are what they are considering, I for one will not be changing my lease."

- NZ Herald

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