18 Jul 2013

Housing NZ tenants complain of maintenance delays

2:22 pm on 18 July 2013

Some Housing New Zealand tenants in South Auckland are frustrated at long delays in getting maintenance work done on their homes, and say it's often shoddy when it's finally done.

It's been more than a year since Housing New Zealand replaced its frontline services with an 0800 number, and some tenants say they end up calling many times before anything gets done.

Manukau resident and community spokesperson Liz Kiriona says people have had to wait months, even a year, to get ramps, decks and gates fixed - and even then, it hasn't been done properly.

Mangere Budgeting Service chief executive Darryl Evans says people are getting extremely frustrated about having to wait on the line for long periods and others have English as a second language and need to deal with staff face to face.

Mr Evans says people are just giving up after being fobbed off, and ending up in unsuitable alternative housing and poor living conditions.

Margaret Martin from the Sisters of Mercy in south Auckland says she's constantly dealing with tenants with small but significant problems like leaks, broken windows, and security issues, and in some instances the delay is too long or the issue doesn't get addresssed at all.

However both advocates say the phone service has been getting better and they're hopeful about positive changes at Housing New Zealand, though they want to see more action soon.

Housing New Zealand says it has fielded more than 400,000 calls in the past year, half of them in Auckland alone.

Acting chief executive Kay Read says sometimes things do go wrong and in that case tenants should call their tenancy manager.