Rebuild mix-up costs disabled family dearly

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 05:00 04/07/2013
Adams family
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/ Fairfax NZ

MORTGAGE TROUBLES: From left, Laurie, Nigel, Alison and Malcolm Adams unpack in the home the disabled brothers will live in while their house is rebuilt.

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After months of struggling to provide a home for her two disabled sons, Alison Adams says she is "too tired" to fight her latest battle.

The Christchurch 78-year-old has spent the last three months struggling to find a landlord to take in her sons, Malcolm, 53, and Nigel, 52, while their TC3 Parklands home is demolished and rebuilt.

The brothers have autism and need to be dressed, showered, fed, toileted, and cared for 24/7.

Adams has finally managed to find a temporary home for her sons, but now faces a whole new fight: because of her insurance company's delay in securing building consents, she has no money to pay her mortgage and is in a serious financial bind.

"I am out of pocket $6000 and have no idea what I'm going to do," she said. "I feel worn out. I'm too tired to fight this."

In March, Adams gave her EQC payment to Southern Response and was told they would apply for building consents the next month.

When Adams met Southern Response and project manager Arrow International again in early June, they assured her the consents had been returned by the Christchurch City Council.

But a few weeks later, a "new project manager" called Adams and said the consents had not yet been attained and would take six weeks to be approved.

Adams said she was "thrown" by the news, which would put her in a dire financial situation.

Brackenridge Estate pay Adams $500 a week for her son's rent, which covers the mortgage, but the rent money is now being used to cover their temporary flat.

"The rent money moves with them. After they moved on Monday I no longer get any money for the mortgage on their home.

"I thought everything was sorted once we got the temporary accommodation but this is just ongoing. It's awful."

Adams arranged for the mortgage to be suspended for six months while the house was rebuilt, but due to the delay she will have to pay the mortgage for an extra three months.

"It's all because of the mistake made by Southern Response not putting in for the consents back in April as I had been told. If I had known earlier there was this delay the boys could have stayed in the house longer and this wouldn't be an issue."

Adams believed Southern Response should reimburse her the estimated $6000 that she would be out of pocket.

"We used all of our retirement funds and took on a mortgage in our late 70s in order to give our sons the quality of life they deserve. We now rely solely on our pensions to live and we get by on them, but really can't afford to pay for someone else's mistakes."

Southern Response chief executive Peter Rose said the building contract for the house was signed in late March and it expected that the building consent would be lodged at the end of April.

However, Arrow was then made aware more engineering issues needed to be resolved because the land was TC3.

"The required geotech information was provided at the end of May, and the building consent application was lodged six working days later on 11 June," Rose said.

"We accept that not all of these developments were adequately conveyed to Mrs Adams."

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Rose said they would do what they could to assist Adams and minimise the time her sons had to spend in the rental, but could not pay for her temporary accommodation costs as she did not have contents insurance. They hoped to have the new home finished before Christmas.

- The Press

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