Changes To On Sold Policy Good News For Claimants

Sunday 30 August 2020, 8:19PM

By RedPR


A damaged foundation under an EQC repaired home in ChCh
A damaged foundation under an EQC repaired home in ChCh Credit: Supplied

The EQC Minister has signed off changes to the On Sold Ex-Gratia policy related to earthquake damaged homes in Canterbury.

Supported by the Claimants Reference Group (CRG), and following meetings CRG recently had with Treasury and the EQC, the approved changes will provide better flexibility for those who qualify for the On Sold programme.

CRG Chair, Ali Jones, says it was clear that the intention of the policy could still be achieved after “a few tweaks” which would provide improved flexibility for the claimant.

“As well as enabling people to get on with their lives, the key focus is to stop damaged houses from being sold back into the market as fully repaired when they haven’t been, something that is continuing to happen,” she says. 

Jones says one of the key changes will enable people who own seriously damaged houses, which they thought had been correctly and fully repaired, to use the repair budget to build a new home. This and other issues were raised with Treasury and EQC management some weeks ago, suggesting this flexibility be added to the policy. She sounds one word of caution, however.

“We understand that the Minister has made changes to the On Sold policy around contingencies (usually 10-15% of a construction project) and we are seeking more detail regarding this,” says Jones. She adds that the recent changes are “overall good for claimants as and they can now choose to build something that better suits their needs (for about the same cost as a repair), remove the damaged house from the housing stock and finally get on with their lives.”

The Claimants Reference Group strongly suggests people who bought houses after the Canterbury Earthquakes and before the On Sold deadline of 14 Aug 2019, register immediately. 

“You don’t need to prove or show damage at the time you register and with the October deadline looming, we suggest those who think they may have damage, register to be safe,” says Ali Jones.

The key points of the updated On Sold policy are:

  • Purchase of another property has been approved where the earthquake damaged home has been deemed uneconomical to repair. 
  • The contribution towards purchase is limited to the cost that would have been expended to undertake the rebuild of the house.
  • The existing house must be demolished in order to receive the funds, it cannot be retained or moved off site.
  • The homeowner may need to sell the vacant section to contribute towards the purchase of the new property.
  • Co- funding has also been approved.
  • Where the homeowner wishes to undertake renovations or contribute the cost of repair towards rebuilding the house, a full and final agreement will be entered into for the cost of remediating the known earthquake damage. 
  • Where an agreement is reached to rebuild using the value of the repairs, the earthquake damaged home must be demolished, not removed from site as this is contrary to the intention of the policy.

The changes came into force immediately and will be communicated directly to homeowners already registered with the On Sold programme.

Check out more information about the On Sold policy here and follow the Claimants Reference Group on Facebook here or search Facebook @claimantsrefgrp