Hi Everyone

Thought we would update you on our house purchase in New Zealand and the problems we have run into along the way. You may recall from another thread that we arrived in NZ some 5 weeks ago and that we found a house we liked in a rural part of Morrinsville (Cambridge to Cambridge).
Well we agreed a price and a settlement date of 4th July, but made this subject to the LIM report and a survey of the property. When we queried a survey the real estate agent said “Yeah no problem we will get a local builder to look the place over”. Not too keen on this response we contacted a firm called Building Advisory Bureau (BAB), based in Turanga, among other places and for under $300 we had a full survey done, which included a meeting with the surveyor on site, after the survey, so he could go through everything with us. The seller asked if he could be present and we said why not, at least he would hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Anyway the survey threw up our first problem, which was that the fencing around the swimming pool did not, according to the survey, comply with the Swimming Pools Fences Act of 1981. This act requires the fencing boards to run horizontally and not vertically, to prevent children climbing over. In addition 2 of the 3 gateways from the property to the pool did not have self-closing catches on them.

We therefore told the agent and our solicitor that this problem would have to be sorted or we would withdraw. The seller however came up with a letter from the council dated 1999, stating the pool did comply. We were now stuck in middle with the seller saying one thing and the surveyor saying another. Anyway the seller agreed to get another council survey done.

The second problem was with the LIM, which failed to show a permit for an extension to the original house. Permits are required for most major alterations and additions, but the problem is than in NZ, until the last few years, councils have been allowed to destroy recorded over 10 years old and as such, things that happened more than 10 –15 years ago, may not appear on the LIM

To add to the problem, permits were not required, or more importantly the council will not take any action about any work done prior to the 1991 Building Act. Of course there is no record of when the extension was built and as the seller only bought the property in 1999, he probably doesn't know either. So here we are buying a property with an extension that may have been built without a permit and the council will only act and certify the property if it was built after 1991.

Greg of BAB reckons the extension is 10-12 years old so our solicitor stated he would speak with the seller’s solicitor to try and ascertain when it was built. If that could not be confirmed, his advice was to walk away.

Well today we have had good news. Firstly the council has given the swimming pool the all clear and thanks to the real estate agent, who pestered the council to check their microfiche files, a permit for the extension has been found, we now have an unconditional agreement and move in on 4th July….. yippee!!

Our advice to anyone buying a house is to remember that the LIM may not tell everything and you may nee to get the council to check deeper into their recorded. Also be mindful of the 1991 Act.

Pam & Dave