Nelson not in scheme to fix leaky homes

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 16/11/2012

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Nelson city councillors have agreed at breakneck speed that the council should not join a government-led scheme set up to help homeowners fix leaky homes.

The decision was made on staff advice there was no financial upside for the council, and it could expose it to greater costs.

Councillors agreed without much debate at Tuesday's audit, risk and finance committee meeting not to sign up to the Leaky Homes Financial Assistance Package, and to reassess the option of joining after a government review of the scheme in 2014.

The Government introduced the Financial Assistance Package (FAP) to help get more homes fixed faster.

The Building and Housing Department has been assessing claims and helping homeowners settle disputes since 2006.

A recent review found not as many homes were getting repaired as intended when the Weathertight Homes Tribunal was established.

Councillors credited the concise report and level of information contained within it, for the ease in which they were able to make their decision.

Since 2003 the city council has paid out $122,248 across seven claims totalling $545,239 for work to repair leaky homes in Nelson city.

The biggest claim for one property was $204,720 in December 2007.

The council's share was $31,758 which it paid in June last year. The council budgets $54,000 a year for leaky building issues, plus staff time.

Nelson city has three active claims, said the Building and Housing Department website, but the council would not be liable for costs because the consents were handled by a private certifier.

From 1992 to early 2005 a "substantial number of building consents" were issued in Nelson city and inspected by private certifiers.

Council staff said advantages of being in the FAP would be that the council would have certainty over the percentage of the contribution of repair costs it would have to pay, although the total amount that might be needed to fix a leaky home was not determined by the council.

Disadvantages of being in the FAP were that the final cost for repairing leaky homes was unknown and out of the council's control. The council's building unit could not charge for processing or inspecting consents for any remedial work, and would incur additional expense through having to provide consent and remedial assessment, administration, and inspection services.

The council report showed a total of 4507 properties nationwide with active claims under the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service scheme. The greater Auckland region had the bulk of claims at 3430; Wellington, 395; Tauranga, 281; and Christchurch, 168.

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Tasman District has six properties with active claims.

Twenty-three councils around the country had no properties with any active claim.

- The Nelson Mail

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