Four months in a leaky house


For four months, Joanna Swinton has been wait­ing for Hous­ing New Zealand to fix her leak­ing, stink­ing roof.

When it rains, wa­ter pours into her daughter’s bed­room in Can­nons Creek, Porirua.

Swinton said she had begged Hous­ing NZ ‘‘al­most daily’’ to fix the roof, which first gave way dur­ing the floods that soaked the Porirua re­gion on May 5.

Fed up with a lack of ac­tion, she con­tacted the Kapi-Mana and within an hour of be­ing sent ques­tions on Thurs­day, Hous­ing NZ turned up to make tem­po­rary re­pairs, and to apol­o­gise for how long she had waited.

She has been told more per­ma­nent re­pair work will be­gin next week.

But Swinton said she was ex­hausted by her long fight. ‘‘I know we should be grate­ful we’re not sleep­ing in a car, but it’s hard. I’m tired of fight­ing to have it fixed.

‘‘When it first started pour­ing, contractors dis­con­nected a leak­ing power socket and two weeks later ran sil­i­cone sealant around the roof.

‘‘It didn’t work. The next time it rained, the wa­ter came in and they said I had to wait un­til the next sunny day for it to be fixed.’’

De­spite ‘‘am­ple’’ sunny days, con­stant phone calls and a com- plaint to the Ten­ancy Tri­bunal, she said she had been ig­nored.

‘‘When I told them I could hear wa­ter run­ning in­side the wall, they sent around a wa­ter­proof tar­pau­lin.’’

She left the win­dows in the room open, but with the door shut to try and con­tain the cold and the smell, she said.

‘‘It’s freez­ing, I run a de­hu­mid­i­fier on rainy days, but it doesn’t make much of a dif­fer­ence.

‘‘Last week­end the bucket that catches the wa­ter over­flowed and drenched the car­pet in the bed­room. I called them about that, but noth­ing hap­pened.’’

Hous­ing NZ area man­ager Kathy Fur­fie said on Thurs­day that tem­po­rary re­pairs were made to the roof in June, and work to re­place it was booked in for later this month.

‘‘We vis­ited the ten­ant to­day to un­der­take fur­ther tem­po­rary re­pairs, to let her know when the roof re­place­ment work will be done and to apol­o­gise for the length of time it has taken.’’

Joanna Swinton bat­tled Hous­ing New Zealand for four months to get her roof re­paired.

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