If your house has a chimney, you need to think about whether it is safe in a large earthquake.
Housing New Zealand this month gave 166 Hutt Valley tenants 90 days' notice to move out so it can earthquake-strengthen the properties they 're living.
Nationwide, the issue came to the fore following the Christchurch earthquakes, during which many houses suffered extensive damage from falling chimneys.
In some cases, the chimney was the only part of the structure to fail.
Alan Campbell, from Chimney Magic, says that after the Christchurch quakes his firm had a big surge in enquiries but little extra work.
"A lot of people can't afford to do anything because it costs quite a bit to bring down a big chimney."
The cost varies depending on size but can be between $4000 and $5000.
Many old villas in Petone and Alicetown have chimneys that need to come down, he says.
"When they find out how much it will cost, people tend to put it off and carry the risk."
It is not uncommon in old villas for the chimney to be near a bedroom.
Not all chimneys are a risk, but the Christchurch experience has shown that a falling chimney can do a lot of damage and can be a threat to life.
Woodburner installer Sam Zammitt, from Solid Fuel Heating, says he agrees with Mr Campbell.
Assessing whether a chimney is safe is not easy and he recommends getting in an engineer.
Its size, weight and what type of ground it is on all need to be assessed and he says the best person to do that is an engineer or experienced builder.
He says he sees chimneys he thinks need to come down, but price is an issue.
"But at the end of the day, if they need to come down, they need to come down."
Mr Zammitt says a lot of old chimneys in the city are in poor condition and if nothing else, they need to be checked to see if it is safe to continue using them.
- Hutt News