A Bella Vista homeowner says the past eight months have been "hell" and they are relieved to finally be able to move on.
Tauranga City Council confirmed on Thursday it had come to settlement agreements with the remaining 20 of 21 homeowners to buy their properties in the failed Bella Vista subdivision in The Lakes. One homeowner settled earlier.
The council refused to say what the settlements are worth or how they are structured, citing confidentiality terms in the buyout agreements, but confirmed an $11.5 million provision in its recently released annual report for "an increase in claims relating to consents" was for the Bella Vista buyout.
The council said in a statement it reached the settlements by negotiation, whereby the council agreed to take ownership of the properties.
The settlements were confidential but the resolution would enable the owners to move on from Bella Vista, the council said.
A homeowner, who wished to remain anonymous and reiterated they could not speak about the specifics of their agreement, expressed great relief.
"We're f*****g relieved it's over and done.
"It's just been hell. It's going to be good to move on."
Barrister Nathan Smith, who represented 18 Bella Vista homeowners, said the resolution was reached after a "very long" day of discussions that went long into the night.
"Many of the owners are feeling positive and some are already looking at new homes," he said.
"They are relieved that it has been resolved and are optimistic they can get on with their lives."
Smith said the council's chief executive Marty Grenfell was "very courteous to all of the owners".
Mayor Greg Brownless said he was pleased to have settled the matter outside of court.
The council confirmed all homeowners would now need to withdraw from any court action.
The two homeowners who had an active claim against the council before the court could not be reached for comment.
The council would take ownership of the properties before Christmas, but had yet to decide the future of the land and properties.
When asked how the buyout would be funded the council said it could not comment as its finance team was still working through the details.
As of September 18, the council had racked up costs of $2.8 million dealing with the Bella Vista fallout, including building, geotechnical and structural assessments; solution assessment; legal advice; communications; security; investigations and homeowner support.
Negotiations began in June after councillors voted to buy the homes, but a previous offer to homeowners was rejected.
The council would continue its prosecutions under the Building Act were still ongoing against various defendants connected to the development.
Two investigations into the council's handling of the saga would continue: one by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and one internal investigation of the council's building inspection team.
- Additional reporting Zoe Hunter
Bella Vista timeline
• Nov 30, 2017: Bella Vista Homes went into voluntary liquidation, leaving behind unfinished houses and millions of dollars in outstanding debts to creditors
• Mar 9, 2018: Tauranga City Council orders emergency evacuation of 21 Bella Vista houses at The Lakes
• Jun 6, 2018: Tauranga councillors voted in principle to buy the 21 homes after an independent report into what happens finds council failures
• Jul 26, 2018: The council makes an offer, which is rejected
• Aug 17, 2018: The council files charges in court against parties involved in the failed development
• Sep 3, 2018: MBIE announces its investigation
• October 10, 2018: The council announces its internal investigation
• November 1, 2018: The council settles with homeowners.