As much as I wish the Bella Vista home owners all the best, they have taken what I would judge to be a very large risk in launching legal action.

It depends, of course, on how the council play it.

If they're still there at the end of the legal action offering the same deal, then the home owners may as well have a crack.


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But if the council decide the opening offer is their best offer, and its rejected, and it heads to court, then do the council, if they win, revisit the offer in terms of generosity?

The council offer, of course, came on the back of legal advice.

And that advice - in very broad terms - would have been based around the fact that one, it's not entirely the council's fault, there are other players who need to front. And two, the owners in their offer lose nothing other than the gap between what they paid and at where the market currently has their home.

Can the council be held accountable for that aspect of the price? I would doubt it.

Further, if the market was correcting and the owners had seen the value of their homes drop in the ensuing period, would they still be seeking market value? No, they would not.

Then you come to the cost of all this.

Lawyers aren't cheap and unless they're hired on a no-win, no-pay deal. Whatever you might win above what you currently have on paper can easily be eaten away in fees.


And that's before you get to the very real prospect that even if they win, what about the appeal?

If council loses, do they appeal? Yes, they do.

And that not only takes money, it takes time. And every day it drags is another day you're not moving on from your drama.

And that is perhaps the most pervasive thing of all: the sheer hell of going through what they have.

By the time you take in cases like this, and the entire leaky homes drama all over the country, there are literally thousands upon thousands of New Zealanders who have had their lives tipped upside down by crappy workmanship, shonky operators and reprobates.

The question for the home owners at Bella Vista, and I assume they've sat down and asked themselves this more than once, is just how long do you want to drag this out?

Just what is the dollar to stress ratio you are prepared to tolerate?

What if it doesn't work out? What if you lose?

Just when does the day come when you can start to put it all behind you and begin again?

I'm a "life is too short" person, and I still argue in this case, as much as it may infuriate you to do so, take the deal.

Life is too short.

As I say, I wish the home owners well. But I wouldn't be where they are today. I'd have the money in the bank and be in a new home.