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Tenant checked on before death: Housing NZ

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/05/2016

Housing New Zealand says it met with an elderly Wellington tenant twice in the five months before his decomposing body was found in his flat.

The body of the man was found in his unit at the 10-storey Dixon St flats on Wednesday night after neighbours noticed they hadn't seen him for some time and there was a smell.

His death isn't believed to be suspicious and police have passed it on to the coroner.

Police don't yet know how long his body had been in the flat.

The case is the latest in a series of deaths in Wellington flats, owned both by Housing NZ and the Wellington City Council, which went undiscovered for months.

They sparked questions about how the housing providers ensure their tenants are OK.

However, both the council and Housing NZ say they have to strike a balance between allowing tenants their independence and being a nosy landlord.

"We meet with our tenants and do regular inspections on our properties at least once a year," Housing NZ area manager Alice Daniel Kirk said in a statement.

"We also do checks on some of our vulnerable tenants. However we do need to balance this with tenant privacy.

"In the past five months we met with the tenant twice to make sure he was okay. The tenants neighbours would also touch base with him regularly," she said.

"His passing is very sad and we are working closely with police as they investigate the case. We are also making sure our other Dixon Street tenants get any support they may need following the incident."

Dixon Street tenants were encouraged to meet their neighbours and keep and eye out for each other and a barbecue was recently held to help with that, she said.

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