1 Aug 2019

Family says EQC’s offer is not enough to fix their broken home

From Checkpoint, 5:37 pm on 1 August 2019

A Christchurch family is worried they will be left in the lurch over a dispute about how much it will cost to fix their cold, cracked, earthquake damaged home.

EQC and Southern Response believe Jody Devine's three-bedroom Wainoni home can be fixed for the $126,000 it was insured for by the previous owner when the first Canterbury earthquake struck in 2010, but Ms Devine is concerned it will not be enough.

Along with her partner Scott and their two children, Ms Devine moved into their home in 2015 after purchasing it for $320,000 - it had been signed off by EQC as repaired.

Within months though, Ms Devine noticed that things were not right.

"When I was vacuuming I noticed bumps, it just seemed to be moving," she said.

"We thought that we could move in ... we could live in it ... it was repaired, we could get on painting the walls, but we found that we can't because we're stuck with a policy from 2010."

Some of those initial repairs were botched - EQC confirmed to Checkpoint eight foundation piles would need to be re-repaired.

Then came the 5.7 magnitude Valentines Day earthquake of 2016. 

Ms Devine said the property suffered major damage, including cracks in concrete, roof damage and cracks in the window frames. Some of the doors also don't close properly, making it the home hard to heat, and many of the floors are not level.

Cracks are visible in the walls of several rooms.

Southern Response initially offered Jody $18,448.83 to fix the property, but Ms Devine disputed that, and was eventually offered the full insured amount of $126,000 as a full and final settlement.

That offer remains open until next Friday.

Ms Devine is not confident that will be enough. 

"Southern Response received our engineers report, they reviewed it ... they have ignored the cracks on the walls ... they've missed the fact we've got a bearer popped up in hallway."

Ms Devine said she understood no more than that $126,000 was available, given it was offered as a "full and final" settlement.

Checkpoint approached EQC and Southern Response for comment.

EQC's deputy chief executive Renee Walker was spoke on behalf of both organisations and said she was confident everything could be fixed for the current offer on the table - and she had not received any information suggesting otherwise.

"The offer that's been made to Jody and Scott is for $126,000 or ... we will complete the repair for them," she said.

Ms Walker said costs would be covered if the EQC-managed repair option was chosen, even if costs went above about that amount.

"If it increased past that value on the agreed scope then the cost would be ours when we start the repair," she said. 

Ms Walker said the next step was for all parties to sit down and discuss those options.

Ms Devine asked for such a meeting this week and is waiting for a time to be confirmed.