Wellington Scoop

City Council offering affordable Willis St apartments to rent – $750 for 3 bedrooms

Te Kāinga apartment in Willis Street Apartment block

News from WCC
The Wellington City Council is seeking interest from potential tenants for the first apartments in the Te Kāinga programme. The apartments are part of the Council’s Te Kāinga programme to provide quality, secure, affordable and long-term rental accommodation in Wellington.

“As a Council we are working on a spatial plan to increase the supply of affordable housing in Wellington,” says mayor Andy Foster. “The Te Kāinga programme partnership with the private sector to deliver affordable rental accommodation is a first for New Zealand.

“To have our first tangible example of these efforts is extremely exciting to share with Wellingtonians. We have a further 300 apartments in the pipeline we are aiming to deliver in the next few years, and will make further announcements about this in the coming months,” says Mayor Foster.

Te Kāinga Aroha is 195 Willis Street and offers 52 one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. All apartments come with whiteware, free WiFi, bike storage and rubbish disposal. Rents start at $410 for one bed, $580 for two beds and $750 for three-bed apartments. Rents are assessed against the Wellington Housing Affordability Model that helps us understand what housing is affordable and for whom.

The Council has signed a 15-year lease with The Wellington Company (TWC) for the apartments. TWC is responsible for construction and asset management, while the Council will manage the tenancies. The initiative is cost-neutral to the Council, meaning there is no impact on ratepayers.

Applications for the apartments will be prioritised based on the following criteria:

People who work in, or intend to work in, an essential public sector role.
People on a low to medium income (under $85,000 for an individual and $130,000 for a group) who have difficulty accessing rental housing in Wellington, and are not eligible for income related rent.
Do not own their own home.

Applicants don’t have to meet all the criteria for an apartment, but the more criteria they meet, the higher the priority their application will have. Anyone interested in renting an apartment is invited to register their interest at www.Wellington.govt.nz/tekainga

The Council’s Housing Portfolio Lead, Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, says all Councillors recognise the importance of having a positive impact on the rental housing supply in Wellington and have been unanimous in their support for this project.

“As Councillors we have heard so many stories of people who cannot find a warm, dry home to live in. This is just the start of Council working with building owners to increase the number of quality rental homes in Wellington. The Council welcomes approaches from other building owners interested in working with Council to increase housing in Wellington.

“These homes are about making sure our teachers, nurses and other public sector workers can work and live in our city,” says Councillor Fitzsimons.



  1. Claire, 18. January 2021, 19:38

    I am not sure if these apartments are really affordable. I am sure people who rent can comment on that.
    I have always thought it would take a form Of kiwi build to get really affordable rents or prices to buy apartments.

  2. Steve, 18. January 2021, 21:51

    When I read the headline I thought it was a joke so I read on…. but no, it’s totally serious. Personally at $250 per room for a 3 bedder it’s not that great, in fact it’s more than I’m paying. The Council must be desperate for $$, what with a massive rate hike in the pipeline.

  3. Kara, 19. January 2021, 9:33

    One omission in the above report is the sq.metre of each apartment. Equating rentals to the number of beds is too simplistic. That does not identify how big beds should be, or if associated bedroom furniture can also fit in.

  4. Kettle Chip, 19. January 2021, 10:50

    Sorry but those rents are extreme. The council should be acting as a disruptive influence and charging below market rent to drive down prices across the board. I guess the clue is in the private partnership with TWC. The Council seem to be in the thrall of them. $750 a week for a 3 bed is more than my mortgage repayments on a 3 bed house within walking distance of Lambton Quay. Where does our pro renter Councillor Matthews stand on this? Too busy tweeting to her followers to ask the hard questions.

  5. Rebecca Matthews, 20. January 2021, 13:45

    These rents are not cheap (I pay less currently in private rental, never moving). But this is not council housing, we’re just managing the tenancies, rent includes wifi & extras. These will be long term leases. They were offices which no one could live in. [via twitter]

  6. David Tong, 20. January 2021, 13:48

    Great. Now build more. Heaps more. [via twitter]

  7. Claire, 20. January 2021, 14:33

    Rebecca: converting offices is a great thing, I hope there are many more to come for sale and rent. There will be more empty offices, now more people work from home. But I am not sure why the council is involved? And if possible these rents need to be lower; they are not affordable and possibly higher than some mortgage repayments.

  8. Wellington Inc, 20. January 2021, 16:01

    Is this another example of a private company pulling the wool over the eyes of WCC and benefiting from a cosy relationship?

  9. Hel, 20. January 2021, 19:33

    Those rents if true are not “affordable”, they are simply about what the current market price is and possibly a bit higher depending on the size and quality. I would have thought a secure long term tenancy from Council to the developer would have resulted in something genuinely affordable if the true target is teachers, nurses etc. Still, good to see poor quality office space being converted to housing.

  10. Bob, 21. January 2021, 12:35

    Another example of the council getting into bed with a developer who is the only one to benefit. The relationship makes things cloudy when it comes to other projects TWC is involved in like Shelly Bay and purchasing council land and negotiating 125 year leases on land and buildings for a flat rate of $44k per year fixed for the 125 years. No renters are benefiting when the rent is set at $750 per week reviewable for a 3 bedroom and for how many sq/m’s? No outdoor areas and no parking. It adds to tomorrow’s mental health and social issues. What are the council officers and councillors doing when their time should be focused on city infrastructure and sticking to core business. Come on Fleur Fitzsimons and other councillors – it’s time to step up to the plate or step out.