Rebuilt storage units not up to scratch says Wellington woman, items found covered in mould
A Wellington woman, displaced after the Kaikoura earthquake in November, thought her belongings were safe in storage, but has instead ended up losing nearly everything to mould.
Dozens of boxes full of Christine Davis' clothing and homewares as well as several pieces of furniture were discovered to be moisture damaged inside the Kiwi Self Storage facility in Kilbirnie.
"It's not mould that could just be wiped off, it had started to erode the wood."
Davis made the discovery in June, about seven months after placing her items into storage following the quake.
Davis said little from the locker had been salvageable, however, she was yet to throw anything out in case it was needed for evidence.
An insurance assessor had conducted moisture testing on Tuesday at Davis' request and while she had yet to receive his findings in a report, she suspected the ventilation in the unit had been inadequate.
"What they've got is an air conditioning unit but he [the assessor] said 'it's like having a dehumidifier on and leaving all the windows open' it's just not effective, Davis said.
"It stinks in there, it smells mouldy."
Kiwi Self Storage had offered to pay for cleaning the damaged items, which Davis rejected as insult to injury.
"All they said to me was 'if you go and clean them up, send us the bill for the cleaning products'."
The section of the facility where Davis' goods were stored was recently rebuilt after being destroyed by arson in 2014.
Kiwi Self Storage general manager Howard Trautvetter confirmed an offer to help with any cleaning had been made, but that he had yet to hear back from Davis.
He was aware of three customers having lodged complaints concerning storage of some of their items at the new building since it opened.
"One complainant stated they found some of their stored clothing and shoes stored in boxes had attracted mould or mildew. Unfortunately, the unit they used had its door blown in by the wind and we take responsibility for that," Trautvetter said.
"Another customer made a complaint about water on the wall of their unit. We believe this was caused by condensation and we have since rectified that problem with increased ventilation."
He said any customers with concerns were encouraged to speak up.
"We are willing to discuss matters with any complainant in an effort to resolve their issues."
Davis did not take out an insurance policy through Kiwi Self Storage instead opting to have her existing insurance company extend her policy to cover the goods while in storage.
"I pay $1200 a year to be over-insured and then they have turned around and said they aren't going to cover it because they put it down to water [damage].
Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG), the parent company of Davis' insurer NZI, have been approached for comment.