Council targets owners as tenants barred from re-entering condemned Wellington building

Wellington City Council is seeking advice on what action it can take against the company that owns 61 Molesworth St.

The Molesworth St building is a commercial building. We caught up with people who say they've been paying $300 a week to live there. Source: 1 NEWS

After the building was condemned last week, 1 NEWS revealed that a family claimed it had been unlawfully living on the first floor of the building, which is due to be demolished after it sustained significant damage in Monday's 7.8 earthquake.

The family has been told they will not be able to re-enter and retrieve their precious possessions, including important documents, clothes and furniture, as the building is deemed too unsafe to enter.

Wellington's Mayor, Justin Lester, has expressed concern that people say they were living in the nine-storey office block. 

"There shouldn't have been residential tenants in that building," he said.

"It wasn't registered as a residential accommodation building. So we will have those discussions. There will be a process to go through."

'It's not as simple as people think'

Wellington City Council's Mike Scott says they have had many meetings with the company that owns the building, Prime Property.

He says the priority is "getting the building down and making it safe to the general public".

Mr Scott says he has personally met with the family in an emotional meeting.

"I have talked to the company that are undertaking the deconstruction. And where possible they will try to save things as they go through. But it's not as simple as people think," he said.

1 NEWS has attempted to contact Prime Property again today, and when we reached the CEO, he referred us to a company spokesperson, who is yet to return our call. 

The family is meeting with the council's welfare team this afternoon to see what further support they can get.