Tourists have been discovered living in a Crown-owned home in Christchurch's red zone, using a bedroom as a toilet and pitching a tent in the lounge.
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The details were revealed at a briefing by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) about what the authority's staff have come up against as they clear more than 3000 homes in the city's red zone.
CERA chief executive Roger Sutton said the settled properties in the red zone were Crown-owned, not abandoned, but the circumstances found by staff could be challenging.
"So we have regular patrols across the red zone looking for this sort of stuff," he said.
"Our guys found them, went in there and said 'what are you guys doing, get out'."
Staff were making sure CERA worked through insurance and Earthquake Commission issues before properties were demolished or relocated, so the taxpayer got the best value out of the money being spent.