Almost ten years ago, the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006 (WHRS Act) established the Weathertight Homes Tribunal and provided for financial assistance packages to help ‘qualifying claimants’ fund fixing their properties.
The WHRS Act is currently under review, and the Local Government and Environment Select Committee has recently recommended that Parliament pass the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Amendment Bill (WHRSA Bill), with some minor adjustments.
In particular, the WHRSA Bill clarifies the following:
- Clauses 1B and 1C of the 28 July 2011 Gazette notice remain valid. These clauses concern the contribution criteria for claimants to be eligible for the financial assistance package.
- Claims will be deemed eligible if all of the following conditions are satisfied:
- the leaky home claim was brought and that claim has been rejected solely because the home was built more than 10 years before the application was made (refer sections 14-18 WHRS Act);
- the decision maker treated the date of construction as pre-dating the code compliance certificate;
- immediately before 23 February 2015, the applicant still owned the home; and
- one or more code compliance certificates were issued for that building work before 1 January 2012.
This amendment responds to the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Osborne v Auckland Council  NZSC 67, which held that the ten year limitation period should run from the date that a code compliance certificate was issued rather than the date that building work was completed.
- The definition of ‘qualifying claimant’ for financial assistance packages is also broadened. Claimants need to have an actively progressing claim to be eligible for the financial assistance package. The Bill removes the requirement for claimants to have reached the ‘notice to proceed’ stage by the time that the financial assistance package expires in July 2016.
As you can see, these changes are technical – if you are considering taking a claim to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal, we would advise getting in touch with your lawyer.