Residents of a big leaky North Shore apartment complex last night voted down a plan to spend $14.5 million, hoping to fix their places for much less.

David Bentham, a resident of Bay Palms Apartments between Bute Rd and Inverness Rd in Browns Bay, said a majority of residents rejected the body corporate's proposal to spent $14.5 million on leak repairs and improvements.

They want to know how much precisely is needed to fix the leaks only, he stressed, and want no improvements.

"The motion failed," he said of the vote on spending $14.5 million. "The levy will not be put in place."

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Some elderly residents told the Herald yesterday they could not cannot afford to pay such a huge amount which was around $100,000 or more for each of the 65 units. Some said they would be forced to borrow from their grown-up children if such a deal went ahead and a debt recovery plan was to be put in place so everyone shared the costs.

"People were looking for how much extra is for repairs and how much for betterment or improvement. Now we have got to get back to the real costs and try to find out what they will be," Bentham said after the meeting.

Before that meeting, residents told of their deep distress at their plight, many having sold stand-alone homes to move to what they hoped was an easier stress-free apartment lifestyle. Instead, they found themselves in an horrendous situation, they said.

Noni Walker, Frances Nells and Bentham stood outside their places yesterday to tell the Herald how they were already faced with paying huge amounts for the leak repairs, of between $94,000 and $130,000 each.

They could not afford to pay any more and some were put in the difficult position of borrowing from their families, they said.

Neels told how leaks resulted in mushrooms or fungi growing from her carpet. She suffered a permanent cough which she attributed to the toxic spores and mould in her apartment getting into her lungs.

Bentham said about $6 million had already been raised from apartment owners yet under the $14.5 million scheme, the levy would have doubled which people could not afford.

"It's totally unnecessary. Most of the increased levy is to pay for improvements. We don't want improvements," he said.

Bentham cited a statement from a Home Owners & Buyers Association executive, saying he would not buy an apartment in Auckland.

"It's a fair statement," Bentham said, reflecting on his unhappy experience of apartment living.

Tom Wilson of Strata Title Administration wrote to residents of Body Corporate 207812. Current remediation funds stood at $5,280,990.65 to which the Government's financial assistance package contribution of $2,905,191.16 will be added, he said.

The meeting sought but did not gain approval to raise a further $6,339,773,98.

Context Architects and quantity surveyors/project managers Quantum have worked on plans to fix the huge three-level building.