A few days ago a new government-commissioned report was released stating that the housing crisis is deeper and more entrenched than previously thought.
‘A Stocktake of New Zealand’s Housing’ reiterated a lot of what we already know about the state of the housing market, particularly the dire situation for renters in many parts of the country.
The Situation for Older Tenants
There are many points of interest to discuss in the report and I’d like to start with the situation for older tenants who are one of the groups of most concern. The report states that the number of people receiving both Superannuation and the Accommodation Supplement is growing by 2000 people a year. When Superannuation was introduced, there was an assumption that most people over 65 would be mortgage-free, so rent or mortgage was not something that they would have to pay. Now there is an increasing number of older people who rent because they have not been able to buy their own home. With rents rising and rental stocks low, being given 90 days notice to vacate a property can leave these older people at risk of homelessness.
The Options Available
The options are minimal for older people. The majority of houses being built are family homes, as in many areas it is cost-prohibitive to build one or two bedroom dwellings. I have posted previously that I have been thinking of alternatives for this age group. Many older tenants would prefer to live in close proximity to others of their age, for company and security, yet it is very difficult to find rental accommodation in retirement villages.
Developing accommodation solutions for older tenants is something I am very interested in. Co-housing, as I have written about previously, would be one option – large houses, each bedroom with an ensuite and a large shared kitchen and lounge. Also what about over 50s communities with a portion held as rental stock.
In March I shall be travelling to California and meeting with a social housing provider in San Jose who will be showing me around a few developments they have done for different types of tenants, including seniors. I will be very interested to see what ideas they have for older people, so watch this space.
John Kenel, Assured