Home building claims under review

The Home Building Act 1989 should protect home owners from defective building work, but many owners are left footing the bill for faulty or incomplete work.

The act covers building contract warranties that can be pursued against builders and home warranty insurance that can be claimed from insurers, and is under review by the Government which released a discussion paper.

Major problems began in 2002 when HIH collapsed and home warranty insurance became a last resort scheme limiting circumstances for claims to when the builder dies, disappears or becomes insolvent.

While in 2008 circumstances for claims were extended to when the builder fails to comply with a Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal order, most amendments have failed to help home owners.

In 2009 amendments limited claims to being lodged within six months of a defect being detected, regardless of whether the insurance period has expired or not, and last year the statutory warranty period was reduced to six years for structural defects and two year for non-structural defects.

Most claims come from apartment owners and more people will need to be housed in apartments. Owners must have access to relief for defective building and I encourage anyone who has suffered from defective building to make a submission by 18 August.

Information:

Details of the Government's: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/About_us/Have_your_say/Review_of_home_building_legislation.html

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