Direct repair payments unworkable, homeowner says

3:39 pm on 6 July 2012

The owner of an earthquake-damaged Christchurch home says the Earthquake Commission (EQC) is effectively forcing him into using its preferred contractor for repairs by making it unaffordable to use an independent tradesperson.

EQC has stopped paying independent contractors and is instead paying homeowners directly, leaving it up to them to pay their bills.

The change will not affect those using the commission's preferred contractor, Fletcher EQR.

EQC says direct payments will take up to three weeks to arrive.

About 5000 homeowners are using this option, but some are worried about being left to pay contractors out of their own pockets while they wait for the payment to arrive.

Property owner Craig Joblin says there is no way he could afford to pay a builder up front while waiting for a cheque from the commission.

Mr Joblin says the change effectively removes his right to choose his own builder.

Bruce Emson from EQC says if homeowners can always opt to use its preferred contractor and anyone unhappy with the quality of work can apply to have it redone.