Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

'Warranty could protect home buyers'

A house warranty is the only way New Zealanders can be sure they are safe from the leaky building disaster, a top litigation lawyer says.

Tim Rainey of Rainey Law has written the final chapter in The Leaky Building Crisis, Understanding the Issues on the $11 billion-$22 billion rotting home crisis where he recommends a new warranty system as the start of a long-term solution.

Lawyers stood to lose from such a scheme, said Rainey who had acted for plaintiffs and defendants in leaky building cases and represented owners of Orewa's Nautilus tower.

"The introduction of such a scheme would, for those houses built for the benefit of the warranty, have the advantage of removing homeowners form the litigation treadmill," he said.

The warranty should be for 10 years and give compensation for loss suffered from defects in design and construction.

Contributors would have to pay a fee set by the warranty provider which would need to be a state organisation. That provider could then recover money from builders, designers and product manufacturers proportionate to the loss caused by their act.

Houses could be sold without warranties but buyers would be aware they were taking a higher risk than with a warranted house.

The warranty idea has widespread popularity in some building consultant circle but the concept has received no political traction.

- NZ Herald

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