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Deal struck over quake repairs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/04/2016

© Getty A group of Christchurch homeowners and the EQC have struck a deal in a long-running dispute about earthquake repairs.

Lawyers for about 100 quake-affected residents - the EQC Action Group - last year went to the High Court seeking clarification about how the Earthquake Commission was interpreting laws when repairing homes.

The groups on Thursday announced they had reached a settlement.

Among the agreed to conditions, the EQC has confirmed it will repair homes to 'as when new' condition rather than pre-quake condition - although it says this was always its position.

The deal also clears up standard that was keeping some floors from being fixed and makes changes to payment calculations.

Anthony Harper partner Peter Woods said the EQC treated many of its clients differently to how a private insurer would, leaving them with substantial costs to handle themselves.

"EQC has said this part of the building is damaged, but because we have to do work to undamaged parts of the building, we're not going to do the work to the undamaged part, you have to do it yourself. Most insurers will accept that they are liable to do all of the work," he said.

Mr Woods represented the group with the help of 40 University of Canterbury law school volunteers.

The new agreement means the EQC will now pay out for undamaged parts of a property, such as replacing wiring.

He said under previous rules, the EQC would only fix floors more than 50mm off level, but had now agreed to return them to whatever state there were prior to the disaster.

Mr Woods said owners outside the action group would also benefit from the clarifications and could go to the EQC to see if repair obligations had been met.

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