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Saturday, April 20, 2013

CERA’s Residential Advisory Service

Yesterday the Government announced (here) the establishment of a Residential Advisory Service that will start operating next month.

It is not an advocacy service, as has long been sought and occasionally promised. Rather it is:

… designed to assist those who are facing complex issues, are confused over conflicting advice, or who are in disagreement with other parties.  It will work by identifying potential solutions, preventing unnecessary disputes arising, and contributing to a smooth and timely rebuild process.

On paper at least the service looks as though it will be useful in a number of situations.

The service will assist property owners to find the best way to address the challenges they are facing and gain a clearer understanding of their own repair and rebuild process.

A range of technical experts will be available to support the service. The service’s independent advisers will be able to request direct advice and/or suggestions from these experts.

Funding arrangements for the service are still being finalised, with costs shared between CERA and other agencies and organisations.

Some residential property owners may need general advice. Others may find it more helpful to have an independently facilitated multi-party meeting, where they can meet with representatives of the organisations relevant to their circumstances. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and one solution may not work for all situations.

There are restrictions on the situations in which it can, or cannot, be used: 

This service may be available to you if you are an earthquake-affected residential property owner and you:

  • believe you are in disagreement with another party over your repair or rebuild process, or
  • are not confident about or do not understand the complex matters associated with your rebuild or repair process.

However, you cannot use the service if you:

  • have filed legal proceedings against your insurer (if your issue is insurance related), or
  • are participating in EQC mediation (if your issue is EQC related), or
  • are trying to deal with your situation through the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman process or any other dispute resolution service.

The preliminary operational details, including phone numbers to call to book yourself into the service, are here. Hopefully this service will give some priority to those stuck in the Red Zones so they can get out as quickly as possible.

Click on the link to see the operational details.

 

The Residential Advisory Service provides independent assistance to residential property owners. It helps them to understand and negotiate progress the repair and rebuild process.

What will the service offer?

The service will assist property owners to find the best way to address the challenges they are facing and gain a clearer understanding of their own repair and rebuild process.

Some residential property owners may need general advice. Others may find it more helpful to have an independently facilitated multi-party meeting, where they can meet with other parties or representatives of the organisations relevant to their circumstances. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and one solution may not work for all situations.

 

Criteria – who can use the service?

This service may be available to you if you are an earthquake-affected residential property owner and you:

  • believe you are in disagreement with another party over your repair or rebuild process, or
  • are not confident about or do not understand the complex matters associated with your rebuild or repair process.

However, you cannot use the service if you:

  • have filed legal proceedings against your insurer (if your issue is insurance related), or
  • are participating in EQC mediation (if your issue is EQC related), or
  • are trying to deal with your situation through the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman process or any other dispute resolution service.

 

How does the service work?

The service involves three steps:

STEP 1

When you contact the Residential Advisory Service, a staff member will take you through a short assessment to see whether your circumstances meet the criteria for the independent advice provided by this service. If your circumstances don’t meet the criteria, the staff member will tell you about other support services that are more appropriate to your circumstances.

STEP 2

If your circumstances meet the criteria, you will be offered a face-to-face meeting with an independent advisor. At that meeting, the advisor will gather information to work out where you are in the repair and rebuild process. If necessary, they will seek further information from the agencies involved, and will have access to an independent panel who have technical expertise in the areas relevant to your circumstances such as insurance.

STEP 3

If you have been identified as having a particularly complex or difficult set of circumstances, you may be offered the opportunity to attend a multi-party meeting to clarify the issues you are facing and help you to find a solution to them. This meeting will be independently facilitated. Or you could choose to deal with your circumstances through a dispute resolution process (like the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman). Where appropriate, the service may support assist you to access this.

 

How do I access the service?

You can access the Residential Advisory Service through self-referral by calling 03 379 7027 or 0800 777 299

NOTE added 22 April: CERA have deleted the access information and added a note to the effect the Service will be available from the 20th of May. Small word changes have been made and are indicated in the original post by strikeout for deletions or highlighting for added words.

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