WHRS Act new regulations: Background Information

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What regulations have been approved?

The Executive Council has approved regulations required to fully implement the WHRS Act 2006. There are two sets of regulations — one to establish the lower-value claim ceiling, and one to bring into force the fees for a full assessor’s report.
The regulations will be implemented on the same day as the WHRS Act 2006 comes into force on April 1, 2007.

How many claims are expected to be classified as lower-value?

Claims for $20,000 or less are predicted to be around 20% of standalone houses. There will be a review of the ceiling six months after commencement on April 1, 2007.

Who was consulted about the lower-value claim ceiling?

Consultation with public consumer and interest groups and government departments on the policy underpinning the new Act and regulations was carried out in 2006.
Stakeholders were consulted in early 2007.

Who can apply to get the new beefed up assessment reports?

New WHRS claimants and claimants yet to be decided eligible will be able to get these new beefed up assessment reports that can be used as expert evidence during the claims process.
Claimants who have already received assessment reports will be able to apply to the new Weathertight Homes Tribunal for adjudication and a further report on any potential weathertightness damage.

How will the Act help owners of leaky homes? 

The main benefits for home owners include:

 the ability to claim for a wider scope of damage,
 receipt of an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the damage to their house and what work is needed to repair it,

 improved information and case management,
 reduction in the average time for claims to be resolved,

 lower legal and evidential costs, and
 a reduction in barriers to claims by bodies corporate and owners of homes in multi-unit complexes.

Are the full assessor’s report fees considered too low?

These fees are not intended to be cost recovery.

What are the key measures in the WHRS Act 2006?

Key measures in the Act include:

 a more comprehensive assessment,
 broadened definition of damage,

 a co-ordinated approach to resolving multi-unit claims,
 relief for voting thresholds to make it easier to make multi-unit claims,

 a new streamlined lower-value process,
 requiring territorial authorities to place WHRS notices of existing and new claims on Land Information Memorandum reports, and
 more effective and efficient dispute resolution. 

How do the WHRS reforms fit into the bigger picture? 

The WHRS enhancements are part of a package of Government reforms aimed at ensuring homes are designed and built right the first time. That package includes:

 the licensing of those who design and build, while protecting the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tradition,
 the review of the Building Code,

 an accreditation and auditing scheme for Building Consent Authorities,
 sector and consumer education,

 building product certification,
 a financial assistance scheme pilot to help the worst affected owners of leaky homes, and
 investigation into options for home warranty and professional indemnity insurance.