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Tenants fearful

Concerns about sale of 'unique' property.

A multi-million dollar property up for sale in March promises to be one to watch in the midst of a booming housing market.

Attlee Place has been called a “unique and slightly rare” entry on the property market.

The 28-unit property is on a cul-de-sac off Carnarvon Street, at the Botanical Gardens end.

Tenants are concerned the sale could see them evicted.

More than 50 people live in the complex, which has a mix of one to three-bedroom homes, filling a need at the lower end of the rental market.

One tenant said some people who lived at Attlee Place were “panicking”.

“I got a shock, all of us got a shock, what is going to happen?

“If they sell it, and we are asked to leave, where are we going to go? I'm a widow and I can't afford to pay more rent than I am paying now.”

The 68-year-old woman said she had lived in Attlee Place for around four years. They were like a community there, she said.

“Some of the people here are older than me and we look out for each other if we have trouble here.

“I like it here, I really can't complain. It's hard to look for a house at the moment and the prices people are charging for rent and bond are huge.”

Next door a mum who lives there with her two children said she was “freaking out” at the situation.

“We're pretty sad. We are worried that our rent will either sky rocket or a developer will buy the place and demolish them.”

A 70-year-old man who has lived in Attlee Place for around six years said he didn't want to go into a rest home but didn't want to look for another rental either.

“If I did have to move into another place I would probably be paying double the rent I'm paying here.”

Another of the units houses a family of eight — included mum, dad, five children and their nana.

They have lived there for eight years and found out the complex was up for sale when they received a letter from the property manager on Wednesday.

A former tenant said she paid $315 a week for her three-bedroom unit. She described the standard of her unit as “appalling” and said they didn't have a kitchen, and had to wash their dishes in the laundry.

Property manager Robin Vickers said a kitchen had now been installed in that unit, and a new tenant would be moving in soon.

Mr Vickers said the units were being advertised for sale to “test the market”. He hoped if they sold he would be kept on as property manager, “but that may or may not happen”.

The property is owned by a family of siblings, who wish to remain anonymous. They inherited it from their father who died recently.

Bayleys Gisborne director Simon Bousfield said it was a pretty unique and slightly rare landholding for Gisborne.

At a time when the housing market was at an all-time high, the property was going to be an interesting one to watch, he said.

“The units are all on one title so sold as one. Historically it was on 28 titles, so there is the opportunity to subdivide. There are a range of options there.

“You look at what is in demand in Gisborne at the moment in housing, it would suit a huge range of buyers.”

It would be a multimillion dollar deal but there was no way Mr Bousfield said he could estimate a price.

“The reason the family are taking it to auction is because it is such an unknown. They don't know either.

“They would rather the market tell them what it is worth, and give everyone the same opportunity to buy it.”

Gisborne District Council (GDC) own five units at Attlee Place, managed by Gisborne Holdings Limited (GHL) on their behalf.

GHL CE Tracey Johnstone said they were not aware of any intention by GDC to sell their units, nor were they looking to buy any of the units up for sale.

The GDC built the 33-unit complex for community housing in 1983, using $2.05 million borrowed under the Community Housing and Improvement Programme.

Twenty-eight of the units were sold in 1994 for $1.47 million.

Source: A Splendid Isolation by Sheridan Gundry

UP FOR SALE: Coming up for auction in March are 28 units in Attlee Place, which is a cul-de-sac off Carnarvon Street. The social housing complex has been in private ownership since it was sold by Gisborne District Council in 1994. Now the family who own it want to 'test the market' but tenants are concerned about what will happen to them. Picture by Paul Rickard