27 Jan 2009

Leaky-home developers ordered to pay

2:44 pm on 27 January 2009

Two landmark court rulings have held developers of leaky properties personally liable and ordered them to pay compensation.

The High Court in Auckland ruled that developer Greg Nielsen, who directed builders of leaky townhouses in Newmarket, Auckland,

must pay nearly $1.2 million for repairs and compensation.

In the second case, North Shore developer and project manager Brian Gailer was found responsible for a leaky 10-unit complex.

The compensation he will have to pay has not yet been finalised but is expected to top $1 million.

A lawyer specialising in leaky homes, Matt Josephson, says the rulings make it harder for developers to hide behind a temporary company name.

"The significance of these rulings," Mr Josephson says, "is that they impose personal liability upon a company director or individual developer ... where he is working under the umbrella of a limited liability company."

Mr Josephson says old cases cannot be re-litigated, though the rulings should encourage new claimants.