In 1996 Mr and Mrs A moved into their newly built home. Unfortunately, that same year they noticed leaks, and water entering their house.

They decided not to pursue mediation or negotiation through the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service. Instead, they had their home repaired themselves at a total cost of almost $250,000.

Then in 2009, they brought a case to the High Court to recover the cost of the repairs, as well as $25,000 in general damages for stress and inconvenience.

Unbeknownst to them, the law under which they brought their claim to the High Court had a time limit. This limit meant that because they were not claiming within 10 years of the leak first occurring (which would have been 2006), their claim could not succeed.

They then tried to have their claim transferred to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal; however, the High Court held that due to the time limit, they were barred from transferring their claim to the Tribunal.

In November 2010, they applied to the Tribunal independently to have their claim heard under a different and more appropriate act, where their claim was still eligible.

Unfortunately, the Tribunal struck out their application, and refused to even hear their claim. It held that because they had already pursued alternative proceedings in the High Court, they could not now bring a claim to the Tribunal on the same matter.

Mr. and Mrs. A again appealed this decision to the High Court. The Court hesitantly decided that they could pursue their claim in the Tribunal, as there was nothing expressly stating that they couldn’t. The judge was clear that their delay, and misjudgement of the appropriate law, made them the authors of their own misfortune, and so while he allowed their claim to be heard in the Tribunal, he did not award them any costs.

They could have easily avoided this unnecessary expense and confusion if they had been proactive about their claim and sought legal advice at the outset.

To avoid similar unnecessary and expensive pitfalls call us on 0800 733 424 to get advice on your rights as the owner of a home that is not weather tight.