PHOTO: Corrina Mansell, standing, is flanked by Andrew Gibson during a lecture with real estate agents. Cary Ralph is at front.
It’s not just another leaky home tale: there’s a $500,000 lawsuit against a builder, a building inspector, and the New Zealand boss of the world’s biggest real estate chain. Three senior real estate agents before a disciplinary tribunal. A mysterious ‘secret’ witness. And a very upset pensioner who lost her life savings.
In part 1 of The Big Leak, we learned how Jean Warburton bought Remax boss Corrina Mansell’s Hamilton rental — only to find out it was plagued with leaks. Warburton’s lawyer found that, all along, there had been a report that warned of the problems with the house at 2B Edgecumbe St.
The document that the whole legal battle hinges upon is called the INRED report. It’s a specialist building report which uses thermal imaging to assess leakiness in a building’s walls which might otherwise go unseen.
The INRED report for 2B Edgecumbe St was actually commissioned in November 2011, when a buyer was interested in purchasing the house from the previous owner, Michael Wallis. It discovered “significant moisture ingress issues” and “moisture levels throughout the interior… that are above acceptable levels”.
That deal fell through, but when Wallis sold the house to Corrina Mansell, he handed over that report, plus details of the repair work he’d commissioned from a builder called Matt Carson, who re-clad an entire wall of the house and replaced the balcony. There was also another building report suggesting the issues were now resolved.
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