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Government Bailout to Leaky Homeowners

Lawrence Ponniah
Lawrence Ponniah

Bruce Johnson
Bruce Johnson

ARTICLE by Bruce Johnson, Partner
May 2010 (Updated on 28 July 2011 by Lawrence Ponniah, Managing Partner)

On Tuesday 18 May 2010 the Government announced a new scheme to assist the owners of leaky homes. Implementation of the scheme is conditional upon take up by Local Authorities and banks.

Corban Revell Lawyers has been assisting leaky homeowners since the problem manifested in the late 90s. Corban Revell are able to provide comprehensive advice and expert assistance to leaky homeowners.

At this time, only the main points of the rescue package have been released. If the scheme is approved by Local Authorities and banks the Government anticipates having the new package up and running in early 2011. The details of the package that have been released are as follows:

  • The cost of “agreed repair costs” shall be met by the Government as to 25%, the local authority as to 25% and the homeowner as to 50%;
  • The homeowner’s 50% contribution will be able to be borrowed from the Bank and will be underwritten by the Government provided the homeowner meets the Bank’s lending criteria;
  • Local authorities around the country have been invited to participate in the scheme and they have been asked by Government to respond by 31 May 2010;
  • The scheme will only be available to houses built within the last 10 years. Homeowners can apply to the Department of Building and Housing to make a weathertightness claim now and that stops the clock on the 10 year limit for claims.
  • If a homeowner elects to participate in this scheme, the homeowner will forego the right to sue Council or the Crown although the homeowner will be able to continue to pursue actions against other parties including builders and defective product manufacturers.

If you are the owner of a leaky home, then we invite you to contact one of our experts so that we can advise you on your options in regards to your leaky home and the best course of action for you to adopt in order to achieve the optimum resolution.

As soon as the procedure for making an application to participate in the new Government scheme is released, we will be advising all our “leaky building” clients of the steps required and we recommend you act quickly so that you can be at the front of the queue. We anticipate there will be a flood of applications made under the new scheme and that it will be administered on a ‘first in, first served’ basis.

Update: dated 28 July 2011

On 29 July 2011, the Building and Construction Minister, Maurice Williamson, announced that homeowners will be able to access the Government’s leaky home Financial Assistance Package from 29 July 2011. Packets of information have been developed and are available on the Weathertight Homes website www.leakyhomes.govt.nz in respect of the following categories:

  1.  Standalone homes.
  2.  Multi-unit buildings.
  3.  Those who have started repairs or have already repaired property, an addendum pack.

It is important to note that homeowners have until 28 October 2011 to decide if they wish to apply for the Financial Assistance Package. This is three months from the date of notice in the New Zealand Gazette.

The experts to contact at Corban Revell are Lawrence Ponniah, Craig Orton and Philip Revell.