$10m leaky repairs row

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Apartment owners at Queenstown’s leaky Greenstone Terrace fear bankruptcy from a $10 million repair job – while their body corporate chairman is paid $130,000.

“Many [owners] will struggle to pay,” one disgruntled owner tells Mountain Scene.

“We’ve already had to move out and live with family.”

The owner’s “pissed off” body corp chair Steve Wilde will get $130,000 in consultancy fees.

Wilde defends those fees, saying his Greenstone role has been “basically full-time” for four years and will take another 18 months.

Greenstone complainants won’t be named because of strict confidentiality agreements.

Owners must each pay $94,000 to $211,000 to repair the 75 apartments. Work starts this week.

The investment has been such a drain, one owner says, “we are pretty much ready to post the keys to the bank”.

Home Owners & Buyers Association of New Zealand is assisting Greenstone’s body corp.

Boss Roger Levie says bankrupting owners “is the worst possible situation, one we’re all trying to avoid”.

“Unfortunately, there will be some people who are going to struggle and ultimately, they have a debt to the body corporate.

“The body corporate has the power to force them to sell their unit or bankrupt them.”

Levie believes owners should only sell apartments when repairs have restored “full value”.

Strapped owners should “put their hands up” for help, he says.

Wilde graphically described his owners’ plight to Mountain Scene in 2013.

He said some apartments were “virtually uninhabitable” with “cracked ceilings falling apart with black mould”.

Damp and mould “terrified” owners living with young children.

Greenstone repairs have since been a hush-hush topic in a deal between the body corp, builder Naylor Love and Queenstown’s council.

The council’s private contractor CivicCorp approved Greenstone’s building compliance in 2002. Documents leaked to Mountain Scene reveal a $13.9m all-up repair cost, minus $4m called “proceeds of settlement & work-in-kind”.

An authoritative source says the council’s settlement contribution is “south of $1m”.

This will come from ratepayers rather than insurance payouts because local body leaky-building claims stopped being accepted in 2009 - Greenstone claimed in 2011.

Greenstone developer Taradale was put into liquidation in 2004.

frank@scene.co.nz