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'Draft Property Management & Maintenance Bylaw'

One Bylaw presentation amongst several coming up for consideration next week is one titled 'Property Management & Maintenance.'

It is likely to raise a few hackles amongst the 'My Home Is My Castle' set who would have us believe that no-one has the right to tell us how to maintain our property.

On the other hand, there will be many, like me, who have been waiting a very long time for our Council to catch up with others, and enact the means by which recalcitrant home-owners can be required to take even basic action to maintain their properties.

I say me, because we live next door to a home owner who deserted the property some fifteen months ago, leaving behind a car parked in the yard, no doubt to give the impression of occupancy. The car is now barely able to be seen under the swarth of grass and weeds.

He initially erected wood scaffolding on to the lovely old villa that had been moved on to the site some years ago to carry out painting and other repairs. Now the scaffolding and piles of paint tins on trestles remain, along with piles of rubbish, but little else. Because it is on a main road into town for all to see (and avert their eyes!), I decided to recruit Greg Hampton just prior to the K4 event - he kindly arranged for Smarts to cut the two foot high berm , but of course they could not touch inside the fence in the absence of any Bylaw.

This new Bylaw will surely bring relief to those of us who are subjected to the vermin/fire risk that these properties pose - Greg tells me that there are several  others, and the sooner the situation is reversed the better. I understand that our neighbour has several other rentals around the country where he is presumably living/carrying our similar 'maintenance.' I have no idea - there has been no communication, and I have idea how to contact him. 

To those who say 'none of your business,' I would say, try living with unkempt hedges and grass next door for twelve months, let alone fifteen and going into another summer before passing judgment. In any case, the onus is on Council to prove that the state of the property is a nuisance. Fire risk alone will be substantial within a month. Note that the draft Bylaw also covers a range of farm-yard animals and bees, not under proper control.

Consultation opens on 16 December, and runs until 27 January. Hearings are in  late February, with adoption in May - can't come soon enough.

A similar new Bylaw has been extremely successful in Auckland - 500 complaints in first six months, 60% led to enforcement action, and Council it is yet to conclude any prosecution - compliance appears pretty near universal following intervention - Yea, voo!




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