Legal help for red zone owners keen to sell

10:54 pm on 2 August 2011

The Government says home-owners in Canterbury who accept the Crown's offer to buy their earthquake damaged properties will receive a large deposit quickly and get help with legal costs.

In June, the Government announced that about 5000 red zone homes in Christchurch and Kaiapoi will have to be abandoned and offered to buy them.

The Government gave owners who have insurance two options:

The first was that the Government would buy the entire property and take over the home-owner's Earthquake Commission and insurance claims.

The second was that the Government would buy the land only, leaving the home-owner to deal with their insurance company over their house.

The Government says for the first group it will contribute up to 50% of their legal costs, up to $750.

The second group will receive up to 50% of their legal costs to a maximum of $500.

The legal assistance will cost nearly $4 million.

The Government also says it will quickly deposit the lesser of 50% of the purchase price, or $50,000, to help the home-owner buy another property.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority asked people interested in the offer to sign a consent form by the end of July, allowing information to be shared.

Just over 2800 of the 5000 residential red zone house-holders have agreed to the first step to sell.

The authority will now write letters of offer. The Government says it is on track to send them to home owners by mid-August.

The Government says home owners who have not yet returned a consent form have not missed out on the offer, but it may take longer.

Labour's Clayton Cosgrove, the MP for Waimakariri, welcomed the Government's move to financially help home-owners, but says the amounts are not enough.