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During the house’s lifetime it may become apparent that damage has occurred in the building as a result of leaks being present or other reasons. Depending on the size and extent of the damage, you may be interested in pursuing liable parties for that damage. If you are interested in seeking compensation for that loss, there are two routes that are normally followed. There are advantages and disadvantages for each path with hidden costs and pitfalls, and both should be fully researched before starting down that track.

An extremely important part of the Building Act in this regards is s393 Limitations defences. It states “civil proceedings relating to building work may not be brought against a person after 10 years or more from the date of the act or omission on which the proceedings are based (s393 (2))”. This will limit what can be claimed for with a building older than 10 years. the 10 years usually starts from either the date of CCC issuance, practical completion, when the house is safe and sanitory or occupancy date. However there are some ways around this limitation.

The typical routes taken for compensation are:

Applying to the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service (WHRS)

now called Weathertight Services Group (WSG). This is a government agency who for a small initial fee establish the likely extent of the damage, and who is liable. For more information visit DBH weathertight Services. An added benefit of joining the WHRS process is that if it is inside the ’10 year window’ at the time the application is made, then if a resulting claim is made outside of the 10 years, the limitations defense does not apply.

Private Legal Case

This can a very expensive route and should not be taken lightly however there are certain advantages. Carry out extensive research not just with your lawyer but talk to as many people as possible and examine the latest cases as law is evolving in this area at a rapid rate.

No Action

If damage is limited and expense minor, it may be more practical to choose not to go down either path.

Please note this section is not legal opinion. It is not intended to replace the need to consult legal opinion.

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