Agent’s leaky dream home
An estate agent who sold her own leaky building as a wowfactor dream home has been slapped with hefty fines.
Upper Hutt ratepayers are also in for a $72,000 bill after its council signed off on the leaky Clouston Park home - though it is understood every party to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal determination is now set to appeal.
All up, the buyers of the leaky home will be awarded almost half a million dollars after a trail of deceit and shoddy work left them with a home where the only wow factor is how damp it is.
Speaking on Thursday, Phorina Tsai and Fergus Mao described the three-year ‘‘nightmare’’ which started in 2014 when they found a 20 cent coinsized water stain on the ceiling of what had been a dream home.
By 2015 it was confirmed as a leaky building and by the time of the Weathertight Homes Tribunal final determination - which awarded them $479,555 - they had spent $180,000 on legal and expert fees.
They and their children suffered health and stress problems and their nest egg was gone. They were closing down their Upper Hutt computer business because of the stress and they could no longer pay university fees for their two teenage daughters.
They estimated repairs would be around $810,000. They plan to appeal the case because the awarded costs were not enough. But those found at fault are also appealing.
The estate agent, Robyn Bond, on Thursday said she got her own report done on the house which she gave to every wouldbe purchaser who came through. The buyers were told to get their own report and do due diligence, which they did before buying.
Both these reports found minor, if any, problems with the house.
The only reason she sold her house of two years was because her relationship ended. She could not afford to appeal but understood there would be a cross-appeal on behalf of her and the real estate agency.
The tribunal found the builder, council, sellers and agents all liable after Tsai and Mao bought the Clouston Park house in 2009.
The ‘‘dream home’’ with ‘‘wow factors’’ had been marketed as an ‘‘amazing executive residence in every piece’’ with ‘‘excellent’’ interior and exterior condition.
The tribunal also said Bond was aware a previous buyer had pulled out after a report from Realsure Limited indicated a high level of weathertightness issues and that it was a leaky home with high moisture throughout the cladding.
Upper Hutt City Council was found to be negligent for not detecting faults during inspec- tion. Those faults eventually meant the house had to be reclad and re-roofed.
The negligence will sting Upper Hutt ratepayers to the tune of $71,932.
A statement from council said it would appeal the finding.
The original builder was ordered to pay $167,842 but it was Bond - the agent and vendor - who got stung twice.
With Safari Real Estate she was ordered to pay $167,842 and both were described as behaving in a misleading and deceptive way.
Along with Phillip Gorrie, who she owned the house with, she was ordered to pay $71,932.
The Clouston Park, Upper Hutt house at the centre of the dispute.