Calls for building warranty insurance for renovations and rebuilds

There's a call for the Government to insist homeowners take out building warranty insurance when they're going through a renovation or a rebuild.

An organisation that represents howeowners says too many are being caught with budget blow outs and unsatisfactory work.

One Auckland couple is going to the High court following a renovation that, so far, cost $500,000. The work is far from finished, and a safety hazard.

The Lee family bought their "ugliest house on the street" Torbay home on the North Shore with the hope of renovating it.

But, four years on, the house is still the ugliest on the street, and a safety hazard.

Calls for building warranty insurance for renovations and rebuilds

The family says they have "camped" in their unfinished house for four years.

The dining room door leads directly to a one-storey drop to the ground.

The kitchen only works because Brian Lee installed it himself after watching YouTube videos.

Calls for building warranty insurance for renovations and rebuilds

Builder Dion South – better known as a renovator on Kiwi Living and Homemade - was contracted to work for the Lee family four years ago. The family says they paid him $331,000, expecting to pay more as time went on.

The family claims they ended up paying an additional $115,000.

According to the family, when Mr South asked for a further $55,000, they refused to pay. And, they say, he walked off the job.

Calls for building warranty insurance for renovations and rebuilds

So how did they get into this mess? Both the builder and the family agreed to a fixed contract over 16 weeks.

But there's a line in the contract that says, "if the project takes longer there will be extra charges". And it did. And there were.

HOBANZ, an organisation that represents home owners in situations like this, says it sees contracts like this every day. They’ve seen in excess of 100 similar situations.

Roger Levie, HOBANZ chief executive, says he’s seen in excess of 100 similar situations. He wants the government to step in and make insurance against defects mandatory. He also suggests involving a third party in the build.

Dion South who has been in the building business for more than 20 years did not want to comment to Newshub as the matter is going to trial.

Calls for building warranty insurance for renovations and rebuilds

With the work so far costing $500,000 on the renovation, the Lees say they just want their house finished.

They say they would have given up by now if it wasn't for their children.

Newshub

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