Dream home becomes newcomers' nightmare

Friday 16 July 2004

A migrant mother looks set to leave her husband in Dunedin and take her sons back to Liverpool, after their hopes of a better life were scuttled by a poorly renovated and increasingly expensive dream home.

By The Landlord

Emma Dowling, 27, said her 9-month-old child, Jamie, was lucky not to have been hurt when the ceiling had collapsed on to his bed, in the first of a series of problems at their Ravensbourne home.

"We have lost all our savings on this house and on the rent we have to pay while this whole thing gets sorted out," she said. "It's just about broken us. We haven't got much left, and it looks like we will have to split up the family to get through."

The family had left Liverpool for Dunedin early this year after Mr Dowling had been offered a job as a sheet-metal fabricator at a Dunedin company. They had looked at several homes soon after they arrived, and had spent $400 on builders' reports for houses they had missed out on buying.

Despair had turned to hope in April, when they had found a two-bedroom house in Seddon St, the day it was to be auctioned. They had not got a builder's report and said they had relied on a clause in the sale contract, declaring the property had the city-council building approvals it needed.

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