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.