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. Processes to do this include those set out in the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act 2006.

There are criteria that you must meet for a claim to be accepted by the Weathertight Homes Tribunal. The key one is that the house was built (or alterations giving rise to the claim were made to it) before 1 January 2012 and within 10 years of when the claim is brought. If a code compliance certificate was issued, this may be taken as the date the house was built. The deadline for a claim is therefore the end of this year, 2021.

An expert assessment of the damage will be necessary. This will often be invasive – it involves drilling holes in walls to take moisture readings and taking samples of wood or mould for analysis. Visible signs of damage will be photographed and recorded.

There are different paths you can take, depending on your circumstances:

  • If the claim is for under $20,000 and the other party agrees, you can choose negotiation. This can be less expensive than other options and may give a faster result.
  • Mediation, like negotiation, is a less formal option for claims under $20,000, but the difference is that there is a third party involved (the impartial mediator) who helps the parties to reach an agreement. (Mediation is also possible as part of the adjudication process if you’ve lodged a claim with the Weathertight Homes Tribunal.)
  • You can apply for adjudication through the Weathertight Homes Tribunal. The decision is binding, but can be appealed in court. Cases are only accepted for adjudication where attempts at negotiation and mediation have failed.
  • Court action is an option, but is typically a last resort because of the high costs involved.

The Financial Assistance Package under which the government and council each paid 25% of the repair cost of a leaky home and the homeowner the remaining 50%, closed to new claimants on 23 July 2016.

You can find more details about the options from MBIE and the Weathertight Homes Tribunal.