20 Oct 2020

Auckland property companies fined $74,000 for extra charges to homebuyers

7:59 pm on 20 October 2020

Two Auckland property companies have been fined $74,000 after getting consent to build seven affordable homes, but billing customers for driveways and landscaping.

Green lawn on driveway, landscaping, berm.

Photo: 123RF

Imperial Homes North West Limited and Imperial Garden Investment Limited, collectively known as Imperial Homes, have also refunded customers nearly $400,000.

Auckland District Court issued a written sentencing today.

Under Special Housing area rules, the companies were given fast-tracked consent to build houses at Scott Point in Hobsonville and sell them for no more than $636,000.

Auckland Council filed court charges after the companies charged first-home buyers for add-ons, and sold the seven homes for $14,000 and $52,000 more than that limit.

In addition, Imperial Garden was charged for breaching consent rules when it failed to meet minimum landscaping requirements at four of the properties.

Judge David Kirkpatrick noted that generally, the buyers were purchasing their first homes.

Some had provided victim impact statements, detailing their experiences being "misled" and forced to endure complications.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he was pleased with the court ruling, because the purpose of affordable homes legislation was to help address housing challenges.

Imperial Homes North West Limited has been ordered to pay $30,000 and Imperial Garden Investment Limited has been ordered to pay $44,000, including $8000 for breaching landscaping conditions.

The Crown will be paid 10 percent of the fine, with the rest going to Auckland Council.

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