Homeowners will usually seek to recover the cost of repairing leaky homes from builders, architects/designers, local councils and others with a role in the original design, construction and consenting of the house or apartment.

Various support mechanisms and services have been provided for the owners of leaky homes seeking redress in the past. For five years after 23 July 2011, a Financial Assistance Package was available. This closed to new claimants on 23 July 2016.

Under the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006, claims could be made to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal. The deadline for claims to be received under this scheme was 31 December 2021.

Homeowners wanting to take action after 1 January 2022 should discuss the options with their lawyer. Options include:

  • Negotiation – the parties (and/or their representatives) sit down and talk with each other to try and reach an agreement.
  • Mediation – a consensual, confidential and relatively informal negotiation process where a skilled and independent third-party mediator is brought in.
  • Arbitration – a formal dispute resolution process where parties agree to use an independent arbitrator. The process is governed by the Arbitration Act 1996. An arbitrator’s decision, called an award, is binding on the parties and is enforceable in court.
  • Litigation – using the court system. It is a last resort, being expensive – costs commonly run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Complex and bitterly fought cases can take years to complete.