Christchurch's 900 social housing units to get $16m upgrade

Tenants have complained about cold, damp conditions in Christchurch City Council's social housing units. - Photo: RNZ / Eleisha Foon

Plans to spend $16 million upgrading 909 social housing units have been fast tracked by Christchurch City Council.

The council has announced it will make the units warmer and drier by upgrading heating and ventilation by next winter, and will add insulation by the end of 2020.

It has borrowed $10 million for the project, which will be used along with $6 million from existing budgets and the Housing Development Fund.

The units being upgraded are currently exempt from the minimum insulation standards, because of the nature of their design and construction.

In July residents of Burwood's Concort Place units told RNZ they were desperate for improvements to their homes.

Frank Poissonnier described water running down the walls of his unit, mould, and cold rooms that were difficult to heat, inflating his heating bill.

And a visiting architechtural designer said the condition of the units posed a serious risk to residents health.

After the upgrade project, some of the council's 909 units will still fall short of the minimum insulation standards even with extra insulation, but it was still worthwhile to make improvements to the current conditions, said council head of facilities, property and planning Bruce Rendall.

"The council is the second biggest housing provider in the country and we want to ensure that we provide healthy homes for all our tenants,'' Mr Rendall said.

"By borrowing $10 million, we can accelerate work on improving the warmth and dryness of our units so that our tenants don't have to spend another winter living in cold, damp conditions.''

The council will repay the loan over a 10 year period.

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