Negotiation process for homeowners pursuing leaky home repair costs through dispute resolution.
If you’re a homeowner, you can claim to repair your leaky home by pursuing other parties for the cost of damage through the Weathertight Homes Tribunal or under the Weathertight Home Resolution Services Act.
This dispute resolution is administered by MBIE and the Ministry of Justice.
Resolution is the process of settling a claim. Your options depend on the cost of repairs needed to fix your home. They are:
- or adjudication.
You can seek the same remedies through the Weathertight Homes Tribunal as you can in any court of law.
What you can claim for
You can claim for:
- penetration of water from an aspect of the design or construction of your home
- damage or loss of value from the water entry
- loss of value caused by the fact the building is deficient.
You need to prove that any loss you have suffered is the fault of some aspect of the design, construction or alteration of the building, or from materials used in the building.
You can also claim for:
- stress and distress you’ve suffered
- consequential losses that resulted from the cost of repairs, such as:
- interest on borrowed money
- relocation costs
- alternative accommodation costs and loss of rent if you home was tenanted.
You are not able to claim for legal expenses, but the Tribunal can award them to you if a party acts in bad faith or where allegations are made without merit. This doesn’t stop voluntary contributions being offered by parties in mediation.
Types of claims
You can make a lower-value claim, or standard claim. Your access to negotiation, mediation, or adjudication depends on the claim you make.
If your actual repair cost or estimate is $20,000 or less, you can apply for MBIE’s lower-value claims dispute resolution assistance.
This process gives you access to negotiation or mediation as ways of resolving your leaky home problems.
Negotiation is an informal discussion about your claim. We will assist in arranging the negotiation, but you will chair and run the discussion.
You and the parties involved should try to reach a solution. If an agreement is reached between you and your parties, MBIE recommends putting it into writing.
An advisor from MBIE will discuss how a negotiation may work with you and your parties. However, they will not attend or chair your negotiation session.
The advisor can:
- arrange a venue for you and your parties to meet
- assist you and your parties in how to conduct the discussions
- inform you and your parties of common pitfalls
- facilitate the exchange of position statements before the negotiation
- provide a template for the settlement
If you and your parties choose to pursue negotiation, we will send you an information sheet with more detail on the process.
Mediation means MBIE will provide a mediator to help you and your parties agree on a solution.
A mediator is neutral and does not make any decisions about your claim. They will focus on helping you to solve the problem, and allow you to decide your own outcome.
A mediator will not make a decision for you or anyone else at the mediation, or give legal advice of any kind.
Mediation has several advantages and requires a constructive, co-operative approach:
- You and your parties can develop and agree upon workable and mutually acceptable solutions – often outcomes that could not be achieved at adjudication or court.
- Anything agreed on or disclosed in the mediation meeting is confidential.
- It is likely to be less expensive, and is relatively quick compared with adjudication or the courts.
- The presence of the mediator can ensure that power imbalances between you and your parties are minimised.
- Any agreed settlement is binding on those agreeing to it and can be enforceable in the District Court.
If you decide to take your claim to mediation, MBIE will send you a form to fill in. An advisor from MBIE will then contact other parties involved in your claim to confirm their participation.
If not all potential parties agree to participate, you can still go ahead with mediation those who have.
Mediation must take place within 20 working days for a stand-alone house, and 40 working days for a multi-unit complex from the date your claim is referred to mediation.
The mediation itself should only take half a day. It will be held in a location as close as possible to the property involved.
If your claim is resolved, an agreed settlement is signed. If an agreement is not reached, you can choose to take your claim to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal for adjudication.
If mediation is unsuccessful, you can apply to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal for adjudication.
Mediation in your weathertight claim has more information about the process.
If your actual repair cost or estimate is more than $20,000, you can apply to the Weathertight Homes Tribunal for resolution by adjudication.
You claim will be managed by a Ministry of Justice case manager, and a Tribunal member will be appointed.
Steps involved in adjudication
- Pre-hearing: A preliminary conference will be held to consider matters such as joining and removing applications, and setting out a timetable for the adjudication and a mediation date if applicable.
- Mediation opportunity: The Tribunal may refer your claim to a time-limited mediation.
- Adjudication hearing: The hearing is a judicial proceeding where the Tribunal clarifies and tests evidence presented to them.
- Decision: After a hearing the Tribunal produces a legally binding decision.
If your claim is settled during the mediation, the hearing will not be needed. A binding and legally enforceable agreement will have been signed by you and your parties, and witnessed by the mediator.
Adjudication for your weathertight claim tells you what to do before you make a claim to the Tribunal.
There is a fee of $408.89 (including GST) to submit a claim.
Enforcing the outcome
MBIE is not able to assist you with the enforcement of mediation settlements or adjudication determinations.
If one of your parties does not comply with the terms of a settlement or determination, you have the option of bringing enforcement proceedings through the Courts.
To bring enforcement you will need to lodge a certified copy of the mediation settlement or adjudication determination with your Court. This a copy signed by the mediator or adjudicator.
The Court will explain the various enforcement options available, and the applicable fees.
You can also enforce an order for a monetary sum by enlisting a private debt collection agency. You should contact private debt collection agencies directly for further information.
Other resolution options
You have no obligation to use the dispute resolution process or the Weathertight Homes Tribunal to fix your leaky home. You may also be able to use:
- the Financial Assistance Package
- the court system
- the Disputes Tribunal (if your claim is for an amount less than $15,000 or less than $20,000 if everyone involved agrees to participate)
- private negotiation
- private mediation or arbitration.
You do not have to close your claim if you try these options. However, you cannot undertake adjudication with the Weathertight Homes Tribunal if you are undertaking proceedings through the courts or the Disputes Tribunal.