After exposing the leaky home crisis 10 years ago in an award-winning documentary “A Rotten Shame”, John Gray from HOBANZ now turns his attention to apartments in a new documentary “A Living Hell: Apartment Disasters”.
Essential viewing for everyone who owns, or wants to own an apartment, this new documentary screens on Prime, Wednesday 14 April @ 7.30pm.
It reveals the shocking truth about the dreadful and dangerous state of many apartments in New Zealand. Buildings that look sound turn out to be seriously defective, costing millions to fix and in the worst cases only fit to be pulled down. The owners who thought they were making a good step on the property ladder now find themselves with an unfolding nightmare that will affect the rest of their lives. The documentary asks how did this building catastrophe come about and how can it be fixed?
After discovering his own home in a Ponsonby complex was a “leaker” in 2002, and eventually winning compensation, John Gray formed HOBANZ (Home Owners and Buyers Association) on Ponsonby Road. He was joined by Roger Levie who had experienced his own leaky home ordeal. Over the years the pair have fought for better protection for home owners and have helped many apartment owners with their legal battles and expensive repairs.
In this new documentary, produced by Freemans Bay resident Rachel Stace, John and Roger take viewers to apartment complexes around New Zealand, including several in inner city Auckland. They see a relatively-new apartment block in Newton, which is so bad it can only be demolished, leaving the owners with mortgages but no apartment. Another complex in St Lukes has become New Zealand’s most expensive repair job of over $100 million. The financial and emotional impact on the owners is huge.
“The destruction of wealth, stress, anxiety, mental and physical health issues that is suffered by owners of defective homes is simply unacceptable,” states John.
John and Roger talk to building experts about construction defects, to politicians about what needs to be done, and to legal experts about how the Unit Titles Act is not serving apartment owners. They talk to Auckland Central MP (and apartment dweller) Chlöe Swarbrick who is backing Nikki Kaye’s bill to amend the UTA, now finally on the Parliamentary agenda. Prospective apartment owners often have no idea of what it means to be part of a body corporate where the building is collectively owned and the repairs become everyone’s cost, quite unlike a stand-alone house. And it seems that defective apartments are still being built.
“Despite the challenges we have faced over the last 16 years, it seems very little has changed,” says John.
When not involved with HOBANZ, John still manages to do his “day job” as the Captain of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
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