Christchurch suburbs


PHOTO: ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF Chris and Angela Mole feared they would be stuck with an unsaleable house. “Lawyers were telling people not to touch it with a barge pole.”

Homeowners across four Christchurch suburbs spent several years trapped in virtually unsaleable homes in a saga involving a group of Auckland rich-listers and an exclusive private school.

Living on leasehold land with rising land rents and plummeting house values, the 52 owners faced a long battle and at have last been able to buy their land.

One of the owners, Michelle Donnelly, says the residents’ unusual situation became “increasingly stressful” and clouded their lives as they lost hope of getting out of the mess.

“We were all faced with growing costs to stay while we also couldn’t sell,” she says.