If you have a leaky home, find out how to make a claim to fix it.
Last updated: 21 March 2016
If you’re a homeowner with a leaky home claim in the Financial Assistance Package scheme or are undergoing dispute resolution, you will need to have your home tested and investigated. This factsheet will help you understand site investigations, assessments and assessor’s reports.
Before you can progress with repairs through the Financial Assistance Package (FAP) scheme or dispute resolution, your home must be assessed to make sure your claim is eligible.
Your assessment will start with a check of your home’s built date. If the assessor believes you have an eligible built date, thorough investigations will assess:
- the number of leaks causing damage
- the causes of moisture entry
- the extent of all damage
- the work necessary to repair the property
- the cost of such repairs
- the people who have played a part in areas that leak.
Assessing your built date
Your assessor will search council files and other information to see whether the built date of your home is within the 10 year time frame required by the Weathertight Home Resolution Services Act.
If your home is not within the 10 year time frame, then no site visit will be made.
If your home’s built date is within the time frame, your assessor will contact you to arrange a convenient time to start site investigations.
If your claim is for a multi-unit complex, your assessor will need to arrange access to the units and common areas included in your claim.
Fixing a Leaky Home has more information about assessing your home's built date.
Site investigations and invasive testing
Investigations to your property are likely to include:
- visual observations and investigations (your assessor will look at all relevant parts of the building)
- non-invasive surface investigations (your assessor will use electronic equipment to scan relevant accessible surfaces without damaging them)
- invasive testing (these investigations can cause damage or require removal of parts of your building, for example cladding or linings).
You will need to authorise invasive testing of your property when you lodge your claim.
Your assessor can then test areas of your home they couldn’t normally get to so that they can identify any damage and its cause.
Invasive testing of your home could be major or minor depending on the property and the type of report required. Testing may include:
- drilling small holes in walls (inside or outside)
- cutting holes in the external cladding (up to A4 in size)
- taking timber or mould samples for laboratory testing.
Your assessor will make temporary repairs which should prevent water entry for up to 6 months, but you are responsible for making the final repairs.
If your assessor cannot find any evidence of water entering the building, they may postpone further invasive testing. Your claims advisor will discuss this with you if it happens.
Site investigation timeframes
Use this form to nominate either a full assessment or an eligibility assessment.
The time your assessor spends at your property can vary, depending on:
- the type of assessment being done
- the size of your property
- the complexity of your property.
Timeframes could be:
- Eligibility assessor’s report – ½ a day
- Full assessor’s report – 1-2 days.
Your assessor may need to stay at your property for longer if you have a multi-unit complex, but they will discuss this with the complex’s representative.
Health hazards during investigations
You need to be aware that there are potential health issues if walls are cut into during your property assessment.
There might be mould or fungi growing in the damp conditions of your leaky home. You are at risk if you inhale their dry spores.
The extent of your risk is not certain. People exposed to spores report symptoms such as:
- nasal congestion
- eye irritation
- respiratory problems.
You need to clean mould or fungi found in interior walls as soon as possible, before drying occurs.
For the assessment, it can be better to cut panels in exterior claddings rather than internal linings to minimise health risks.
Your assessor will temporarily repair any holes they create for these reasons.
You can find guidelines to help you clean mould and fungi in a safe way. We want to ensure your health risks are minimised.
You need to call your doctor if you have any health concerns.
Your assessor will write a report on your property when they have completed their investigations. This involves:
- considering the investigation results
- compiling information
- obtaining specialist advice as needed
- preparing the report.
Normally the time it takes for you to receive your report will depend on the type of report you require:
- an eligibility assessment report will take 6-8 weeks
- a full assessment report will take 3 months.
If your report is for a multi-unit complex, you will be advised on the expected timeframes by MBIE.
You will be sent of a copy the assessor’s report once it is completed.
We will send a copy of your report to MBIE’s chief executive if your assessor believes your claim is eligible under the Weathertight Home Resolution Services Act. You must have an eligible claim to access the FAP, or to start dispute resolution.
You will be advised if MBIE’s chief executive believes your claim is eligible. You will then be contacted by your claims advisor to discuss options.
If your assessor believes you do not have an eligible claim:
- you will have 20 working days from the date the report is finalised to make a submission to the MBIE chief executive supporting your eligibility.
- if MBIE’s chief executive agrees your claim is ineligible, you can ask for the Weathertight Homes Tribunal chair to review the decision within a further 20 working day period.
- if the tribunal chair decides your claim is eligible, that decision replaces the decision of MBIE’s chief executive.