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Friday, January 18, 2013

Can I keep my house or some items from it? - Southern Response FAQ

Southern Response have added a new FAQ to their lengthening list of FAQs.

The latest FAQ,  Can I keep my house or items from it? (here),  covers the issues involved in ownership of material and items from a property that is beyond economic repair and is to be demolished. It is a complicated situation, and may involve significant costs to determine the value of materials and items you want to remove.

The following is from the FAQ:

Published 18 January 2013

If your house is assessed as being beyond economic repair and you have replacement insurance cover, we will fully compensate you for the loss of the house - by making a cash settlement payment or rebuilding the house as provided by your specific policy.

Our obligation to you is to compensate you for the loss of your house.  Our obligation to our reinsurers (and the government) is to offset our claim costs where we are able to and this is traditionally done through salvage. As part of our settlement we may exercise our right to remove anything of value before completing demolition, effectively reducing many houses to a very basic shell.   In some cases we may also look to relocate the entire house from the existing site.

This means two things when you sign a settlement agreement with us for the replacement of your house:

  • You cannot remove items or elements from the house without our express consent - as we will assess whether we wish to salvage before demolition.  Any such action by you will effect settlement of your claim. 
  • We will actively seek to recover the items or value for anything removed from the house without our written permission.

If you want to retain your house, please discuss this with us before you enter into any agreement with a third party. We actively seek to protect our salvage rights and require confirmation of the habitability and structural integrity of any house that is not demolished and intended for continued occupation.

If you are considering making a request to Southern Response to retain the house, there are a number of steps to be completed.  We can discuss these in more detail with you if you want to consider this option. 

In summary:

  • We need to be clear there is agreement between EQC and Southern Response, and  between you and Southern Response regarding the claim and settlement

   and

  • We require an Arrow report and a structural engineer's report on the property, with all recommended works completed

   and

  • An estimate of salvage value is required, which we independently validate.

You will need to meet the cost of each of these reports, the estimates to arrive at the salvage value and also pay the agreed salvage value.

There are other things for you to consider, relating to your temporary accommodation eligibility, future EQC cover and settlements, house insurance and repayment of any costs we have incurred to date to respond to your request.  We will also require future indemnification from you for any future action regarding the property.

Please contact your Southern Response pod at the earliest possibility if you are considering seeking to retain the house, so we can talk through the requirements with you.

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