15 Jan 2009

17 years in a leaky home: be warned

9:41 pm on 15 January 2009

The owner of a Christchurch home due to be demolished because of leak damage says she hopes her experience will be a warning to others.

Kathleen Bennett's Avonhead home is thought to be the first leaky home in the South Island to be torn down because of severe water damage to the roof and walls.

She says the house started leaking on the day she moved in 17 years ago and has not stopped since.

South Islanders should not think leaky homes are just an Auckland problem, she says, and she encourages all homeowners to get their houses checked for water damage.

Home Owners & Buyers Association president John Gray, who believes there are thousands of leaky houses in Canterbury alone, agrees. He's urging people to ensure they get a house professionally checked before committing to buy it.

10 years not enough to claim in

Mr Gray has also criticised the 10-year limit for claiming financial compensation on a leaky home.

The Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act passed in 2006 allows the owners of such homes a chance to get some recompense, provided the claim is made within 10 years of the house being built.

Mr Gray says this does not protect homeowners in cooler, drier climates like Canterbury where moisture damage may take longer than 10 years to show.