When an elderly woman was found dead at her leaky Auckland apartment complex last year, owners' advocate and president of the Home Owners and Buyers Association of New Zealand (HOBANZ), John Gray said her death illustrated the stress facing many leaky apartment residents.
"HOBANZ has expressed concern about a number of people at risk in a large number of buildings undergoing repairs," said Gray. "This issue is quite widespread and there will be more and more people who are vulnerable, particularly the elderly and those on fixed incomes."
While it is not known how the woman died, the Tenancy Tribunal had earlier ruled that she had to vacate her unit for five weeks, to allow contractors to carry out repair work on the leaky building.
Gray, who prepared a document for a review of long-term maintenance plans in apartment blocks, says he hopes apartment owners' rights will be strengthened, ensuring people have easy access to disputes resolution around fees they're charged or capital works such as weathertightness repairs.
Not all apartment owners can afford to pay levies charged to fix problems with multi-unit buildings which is why HOBANZ have launched a crowd-funding campaign. They are aiming to set up a litigation fund for financially stressed victims of leaky home syndrome. Chief executive Roger Levie said the fund was designed to bring justice to individual homeowners left in stress and financial strife over leaky home issues.
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