Freddy's Leaky Bach
In the past few years many homeowners have discovered they own a leaky home. Unfortunately, for Farmer Freddy he is one of them. What can he do about it?
Farmer Freddy, who's been up since 5.30am milking the cows, feeding the calves and putting the mobs over the fences into fresh grass, has just come in for breakfast.
He was looking forward to sitting down with a sausage or three and a decent coffee to have a good read of the Taranaki Daily News before going back out.
No sooner has Freddy settled into his seat, than the phone rings. It's his mate Kevin.
"Gidday Kevin, what's up? I thought you were staying at my place in the Bay of Plenty," says Freddy.
"I'm afraid that's what I'm ringing about," replies Kevin. "We arrived late last night to find water flooding down the walls. This place is leaking like a sieve."
"What!" cries Freddy. "How can this be? That house is barely three years old! I'd better ring Pebbles."
"Pebbles," he says, anguished, "the wretched bach is leaking! What should I do?"
"Crikey Dad", says Peebles. "That's terrible. But there are things you can do to get it sorted. First of all, did you get a warranty from the builder?"
"I'll have to check," replies Freddy, "but I'm afraid he was a bit of a cowboy."
"Well, even so, you should still be able to bring a claim with the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service to try to resolve it," says Pebbles.
"You should be eligible because you own the house, it's used for residential (as opposed to commercial) purposes, it's been built within the last 10 years, and, unfortunately, it seems to be leaking and to have been damaged by those leaks," explains Pebbles.
"First, you need to fill out a claim form (available from the Department of Building and Housing's website). If an initial assessment shows you may be eligible, an expert assessor will investigate. Then, the department will decide whether your claim can proceed to the resolution stage.
At that point, they establish who is liable for the damage and what compensation is payable. Even if you can't recover anything from the builder, the Bay of Plenty local authority that certified that the building was code compliant may be held to be liable."
"But I'll still ending up footing most of the bill, won't I," says Freddy, grumpily.
"Possibly" says Pebbles, "especially if you can't recover anything from the builder. But some good news, under a new assistance package, the Government will fund 25 per cent of the repair costs, the local authority another 25 per cent (if it's participating in the scheme) leaving you to fund the remaining half."
"If you accept this deal, you can't sue the Government or the local authority, but you can still pursue the builder and any others who may be responsible."
"I know it's not a perfect solution Dad, but it's better than nothing," says Pebbles. "The first thing to do though, is to get the leak plugged so the bach isn't damaged any further."
The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document.
If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser.