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Lawyer advising leaky home clients against taking package

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 18 NZPA - The package to help fix leaky homes is not good enough, a lawyer for leaky home owners says.

Paul Grimshaw, of Grimshaw and Co, will advise his clients to continue with litigation, Radio New Zealand reported.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson yesterday announced the Government and local authorities would each contribute 25 percent of the agreed repair costs, with the homeowner picking up the remaining 50 percent.

Those who take up the package lose the right to sue the Government and councils.

Mr Grimshaw said it was about how home owners could get the most money.

"I'm not going to be telling the clients that they should effectively take only 25 percent from the council when if they go through the courts they can get 100 percent from the council."

The package could help people who had to spend less, $100,000-$200,000, to fix their property, he said.

But, that would depend on loan rates and availability.

Not all leaky home owners would be eligible for the new package; a PricewaterhouseCoopers report last year estimated that 22,000 to 89,000 homes could be affected, with 42,000 likely to be leaky based on design and materials. Only about 3500 had been repaired.

Only homes flagged as leaky with the Department of Building and Housing within 10 years of being finished would be eligible. A home built in 1995 but notified to the department as being leaky in 2003 would be covered but one built in the same year and not notified would not. Notifying the department effectively "stopped the clock".

Based on some missing the 10-year qualifying period, officials estimated 23,500 would be eligible for today's package -- leaving possibly tens of thousands to pursue other options.

Councils were yet to sign up to the package but Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and Auckland Mayor John Banks were "confident of a buy-in".

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