A distraught family in Whangārei is facing a colossal repair bill to fix their condemned house while paying for temporary accommodation for an indefinite period of time.

Anthony and Marian Stringer of Manuka Pl in Raumanga were last week moved to a motel after a Whangārei District Council senior building inspector deemed their house unsafe.

The inspector checked part of the road in front of the property that had sagged and found structural damage to the house. The sagged road has been patched up but is still cordoned off.

The council has issued a Dangerous Building Notice to the home owners and ANZ Bank as the mortgage holder and listed a number of remedial works they need to do within stipulated timeframes.

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Anthony Stringer told the Northern Advocate through his employer, Culham Engineering where he works as a fabricator, it would be "quite an expensive" long-term fix.

The company has offered him support, including moving belongings from the house and shifting the family from a motel to a rental property.

He is awaiting engineering and geotechnical reports from WDC, his insurance company and the Earthquake Commission, which should be ready by early next week.

Stringer is allowed access to the back of his house from a neighbour's property to feed his chickens.

The road opposite the structurally unsound house has been patched up but cannot be driven on. Photo / John Stone
The road opposite the structurally unsound house has been patched up but cannot be driven on. Photo / John Stone

The WDC notice, posted on the Stringers' letterbox, is dated August 28 and signed by senior building inspector Paul Tomlinson.

''No person is allowed to enter or live in the building, except to carry out repair works, or to retrieve personal belongings under the supervision of a council's senior building inspector,'' it says.

The restriction will remain in place for 30 days - more if the building remains dangerous.

During an inspection of the house on August 28, Tomlinson said a senior WDC building inspector noticed extensive cracking of brick veneer cladding, the chimney and the foundation walls.

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"The inspector considered that the building was likely to cause injury or death to any person in it or to persons on other property or damage to other property.

"Extensive creaking was also sighted in the land surrounding the building, which vould contribute to further damage to the building."
The Stringers have to fence their home to secure the site and to prevent public access.

The level of the chimney must be lowered to the level of the roof line to prevent further damage to the building and to minimise possible risk of injury.

They must hire a qualified person such as an engineer to check the house for "structural integrity, soundness and advice on whether adequate remedial work can be undertaken".

A report must be provided to WDC within 20 working days of the notice.

A similar assessment is expected on land the house sits on to determine whether remedial work is needed to stabilise it. If so, building consent will be needed.

Under the Building Act, the Stringers face a fine of up to $200,000 if they fail to comply.

"In addition, if this notice is not complied with, the Whangārei District Council may apply to the District Court for an injunction requiring you to carry out the work specified in this notice.

"Or alternatively may apply to the District Court for an order authorising the council to carry out the work and thereafter recover the costs from you."

Earthworks on a subdivision below the house are being investigated as a possible cause of the damage.