'Phenomenal' emotional toll after Tauranga homes declared uninhabitable

Almost two dozen homeowners have been left furious and heartbroken after their houses were deemed too dangerous to live in.

In an unprecedented move, Tauranga City Council says all 21 houses in the Bella Vista development are uninhabitable.

The Stewart family overcame the hurdle of affording a house, only to be locked out of their dream home halfway through the build, leaving them distraught.

"We've got two young kids - we want to start our lives... the emotional toll has been phenomenal," Andre Stewart told Newshub.

Tauranga City Council geotechnical and structural engineers began investigating when the developer went into liquidation.

But it wasn't until residents were forced to evacuate during Cyclone Hola in March that the full extent of the problems were discovered.

Major defects were found in the roof, beam and floor fixings, as well as issues with retaining walls. It might not look it, but the issues are so extensive the entire site can't be reoccupied.

"Shocking, not what we wanted to hear. Don't know how it happened when we've got a fully code compliant house," said homeowner Jenny Coffey

That's what's most worrying - four homes had already been given a code compliant certificate by the council and had been lived in for more than a year.

The council has begun an external investigation.

"Are you worried that there might be other developments where this could've occurred? At this stage our concerns are confined to the Bella Vista site," said Tauranga City Council chief executive Garry Poole.

The homeowners' concerns are now focused on recouping any money they can.

"We don't want to walk away from a house we're still paying a mortgage on," said homeowner Damien Coffey.

The council says it will work with the homeowners and in some cases might buy the property, demolish the house and resell the land. Others may be left to find a solution themselves.

Final decisions will be made in June.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: