Family first to be forced out of leaky home

By John Cousins

An Ohauiti family will become the first Tauranga family to shift out of a leaky home after receiving notice from Tauranga City Council that it is too dangerous to live in.

Rot in the exterior structure of the house owned by Christine Radford and Martin Roberts meant the couple had been given two weeks to install temporary props and bracing on five walls to make the building safe to live in.

Ms Radford said the family, including two sons, was resigned to moving in with her mother in Tauranga while their house was repaired, either temporarily or permanently, or demolished.

The council's building services manager Rob Wickman said no other dangerous building notices had been issued for a leaky home in Tauranga and none were due. <inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"It is a very rare occurrence," Mr Wickman said.

The notice issued by the council was driven by a report from an engineer engaged by the Department of Building and Housing. The department gave the council the directive to issue the notice.

The first option for the family was to do the temporary works in the next two weeks until the permanent works were carried out.

"If they don't do that, then there are fines under the Building Act, but we don't want to go there.

"We know what pressure they are under and we commiserate with them. It's their family home," Mr Wickman said.

"However it is about the safety of the users [of the house] and that was why a Dangerous Building Notice was issued."

Mr Wickman said the family would not be forced to move unless they really dug their toes in.

The couple had engaged a building surveyor under another leaky homes process.

"They will have to move out of the home until it is in a safer condition," Mr Wickman said.

Former Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson has offered to help the family.

Meanwhile, the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service was handling 94 leaky homes claims in Tauranga representing 191 properties, this is 209 properties fewer than Wellington but dwarfed by Auckland's 3480 properties (1279 claims).

The difference between the number of claims and the number of properties was mainly a reflection of the high number of units and apartments where the action was being taken by a body corporate or similar consortium of owners. The rest of the Western Bay of Plenty has 10 claims representing 10 properties.

Tauranga's active claims at the same time last year totalled 80 representing 154 properties.

Since 2003, 190 Tauranga claims to the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service have been closed or resolved, of which 107 were closed and 83 resolved.

In the Western Bay of Plenty District Council area, the total was 16 closed and 12 resolved.

Claims get closed for a variety of reasons including if it was wrongly brought, if the property was sold or if the claimant asked to close the claim.

Claims are considered resolved if they have gone through mediation or adjudication or if the claimant has resolved through other means.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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