Owners set for long haul

By Laurel Stowell

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A team of about 10 Christchurch builders and engineers will be in Whanganui this week to assess properties damaged by slips in June, Bryan Staples says.

It's just the start of what is likely to be a long haul for the property owners. He warned some would not be back in their houses for two or three years.

Mr Staples is the director of Earthquake Services Ltd, the company helping Christchurch people fight EQC to get funding to have their properties thoroughly repaired after the 2010-11 earthquakes.

He's bringing two teams of four, each staffed by builders and engineers, to Whanganui on Thursday. They will assess properties damaged in mid-June last year whose owners have been unable to get enough of a payout from EQC to repair them.

Often that has been because of the law EQC works to and the low value of land in Whanganui.

The Earthquake Services teams have 20 assessments to make, but Mr Staples said there would be more later.

The June rain caused slips that made some houses unable to be occupied. Payments offered by EQC have not been enough to see some owners back into them.

About 30 affected Whanganui people attended a meeting with Mr Staples in November. He outlined the way EQC and insurance companies work.

When land is affected EQC will pay for either the repairs or the value of the affected land itself, whichever is cheaper. Where houses are affected, it will pay the first $100,000 for repair, with insurance companies paying the rest.

After that meeting "quite a number" of affected people made inquiries about getting his company's help to get a better outcome from EQC.

Mr Staples' usual charge is 20 per cent of what they get from EQC, over and above their initial offer. He's offered Whanganui people a lower percentage price.

Mr Staples said increasing those payouts can involve a long court process, and the cases will have to be taken individually, because they are all different.

Meantime, his company is still busy trying to wring the correct entitlement from EQC for Christchurch people.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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