By Sam Sachdeva
Spiralling rents and insurance problems could force the closure of vital community organisations in Christchurch, an MP says.
Wigram Labour MP Megan Woods has raised concerns after hearing of an Addington community house that is being forced out of its home of 19 years because of insurance problems.
Manuka Cottage, run by the family and community section of Anglican Social Services, has been operating in Addington since 1993.
Cottage community development worker Cherylan Davies said the organisation had rented the house for 19 years without any problems.
However, the landlord had recently been told that he would not be able to receive insurance if the group remained in the house as it was classed as a commercial activity.
Davies said the organisation had been told it had to find a new location by the end of the month.
A commercial rental property in the same street had an annual rent of $28,600, more than triple the $9000 rent the group was paying now.
"All our expenses will increase incredibly, and we're already struggling," Davies said. She said the house was used by community groups and provided a safe environment for vulnerable people.
"They're human beings like you and I, and for whatever circumstances, life has dealt them some pretty huge blows. This gives them a place to come and connect," Davies said.
This year, a landlord was forced to evict Anglican Social Services from his Gloucester St house after he was unable to obtain commercial cover.
Woods said the cottage had been "absolutely integral" to Addington residents.
The insurance issues were likely to affect other community organisations that had been using residential properties as their base, she said.
The insurance problems showed a "clear market failure" that the Government needed to address, she said.
Woods said she had written to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee outlining her concerns and asking for action.
An Insurance Council spokesman said the organisation was not aware of problems with community organisations obtaining insurance cover.
Brownlee could not be reached for comment.