A South African immigrant claims there have been delays to the construction of her family's new Auckland home but her house-builder says it is adhering to timetables in the written contract, has done all it can and is awaiting council consent.
Jody Boshoff, who migrated in 2015, wants work to start at 15 Seafarer Cres, Stanmore Bay and expected that months ago, having bought the land from Signature Homes, which is also contracted to build the house.
Phillip Howe, managing director of Signature's North Shore and Rodney franchises, says his business has guaranteed completion by next January and it is working with her and Auckland Council to get the plans consented and work started.
After Boshoff complained, Signature Residential sent her flowers saying: "Moving forward together to create your beautiful new home." But Boshoff said: "I don't want platitudes or flowers. I want our family's home."
Boshoff said the family paid an initial deposit on the site last April and they have been paying $450/week rent on a two-bedroom home for the four of them, $260/month on goods storage and about $300/week in mortgage payments on the land.
"And there's still no consent for the house, which is frustrating and expensive. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. We desperately want a home and we're stuck with Signature contractually."
"We are currently living in a two-bedroom, tiny Airbnb. The build has not started and we are paying rent and mortgage costs for an extended period.
"The system is broken when the time from buying to the building takes years. It's taken a huge toll on my mental health. We have been so lucky to be surrounded by great friends and family who have encouraged us, but I don't know how much more stress we can take," Boshoff said.
"We are at wit's end. Signature homes has taken over a year to deliver us exactly nothing. Auckland Council are further delaying the build of our daily home and costing us thousands in rent and mortgage payments while we still have no place to call home," she complained.
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Howe said: "We are aware of Jody's frustrations and are working with her and the council to get their plans consented and their family into their new home as soon as possible. However, there have been some extenuating circumstances."
The couple signed a conditional agreement and paid a small deposit last April, conditional on the Signature franchise selling the remaining three homes in the block of four terraced homes, Howe said.
"The agreement went unconditional on September 28 last year and the Boshoffs settled on the land only in October, committing us to build the home, although we had only sold one other home in the block due to the flattening off of the Auckland market. Note: we weren't required to do this. We could have waited until all four were sold or until the sunset date as per the contract but, out of the interests of Jody and our other purchaser, expediated the process," he said.
The Boshoffs' January 3 next year guaranteed completion date was based on the timelines set out in the agreement which was standard practice for all clients to provide certainty of when they would be able to move into their new home, "and there will be compensation paid to the client if we go past this date. This is a guarantee not all builders provide".
Signature was working hard to get the Boshoffs' and other clients' plans through the council's consent process but had been experiencing more delays than in the past.
"Auckland Council have informed us this is due to the large volume of consents currently being processed, and we have also been made aware by council that the processing of some of these have been contracted out to external processing agents. However, we suggest you approach the council for their comment," Howe said.
Signature empathised with the family and all its clients in the Auckland region and was trying to work with the council to get consents fast, he said. It had escalated the Boshoffs' application to the northern manager at Auckland Council to endeavour to get the processing completed and building consent issued.
About half of the sites in the Mariner Rise development had been built or were being built on, Howe said. Many builders were taking longer than expected to sell their homes either off plans or completed, which was again a reflection of the softening property market.
Auckland Council says it is processing record numbers of new residential building consents, running at levels not seen since around the mid-1970s.
Planning committee chairman Chris Darby said a "phenomenal" number of new consents were being issued in Auckland every month.
Darby said the performance of the consenting system was lifted after that was made an organisational priority.
Statistics NZ said Auckland consents rose 24 per cent in the year to March, 2019 when 13,874 new residential consents were issued for the city.
Auckland consents outstripped all other areas:
• 3915 consents for the March year were issued in the Waikato, up 13 per cent
• 2708 in Wellington, up 5.9 per cent
• 5491 rest of North Island, down 5.2 per cent
• 4915 in Canterbury, up 0.2 per cent
• 3605 rest of South Island, up 4.1 per cent.
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