Home owners asked to help quake victims

6:39 pm on 16 September 2010

The Government is calling on owners of unoccupied houses in Canterbury to lease them to people left homeless by the earthquake.

The 7.1-magnitude quake hit the region on 4 September, making many buildings and homes unsafe to live in.

Housing Minister Phil Heatley launched the Housing Emergency Lease Programme (HELP) in Christchurch on Thursday.

The Government is asking owners of farm cottages, holiday homes or houses that are on the market to consider leasing them on a short or medium-term basis for an average market rent.

Seven people have so far answered the plea.

The Housing New Zealand Corporation will act as an unpaid property manager - draw up the lease, collect rent and ensure that the house is returned in the same condition.

Tenants will not have to pay a bond and their rent can be deferred for the first month.

The Defence Force and the Ministry of Education are also checking their housing stocks to see if they can provide accommodation.