$2m bill spooks owners of leaky units

Wednesday 30 June 2004

Fears of a $2 million legal bill have forced plaintiffs in one of New Zealand's largest leaky buildings cases to settle on the eve of their court fixture.

By The Landlord

Greenwich Park unit owner and weathertightness committee chairman Dean Sutcliffe said the terms were unsatisfactory but owners had to take the money because they could not afford to fight through the courts.

"We were told that some of the parties would take this all the way to the Supreme Court and owners just couldn't afford that," Mr Sutcliffe said.

In March, the body corporate of the 85-townhouse development between Spaghetti Junction and Symonds St made a $9 million claim which was to be heard in an eight-week trial in the High Court at Auckland from July 19.

It was to be a landmark case, attracting the interest of territorial local authorities, developers, builders, architects, building certifiers and various agencies facing litigation on other multi-unit projects in Auckland.

Greenwich Park owners now face the prospect of stripping claddings from their units, replacing rotten framing timber and re-cladding, a job estimated in their claim to cost $5.3 million.

"It's a less than satisfactory result," Mr Sutcliffe said. "The whole focus is now on the repair process and assisting owners to achieve that as quickly as possible. We've just got to take little steps to begin to solve this problem."

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