What are the impacts of owning or purchasing a leaky home?

What to do if you have a leaky home

Where a home is leaking, remedial work will be required to rectify any identified problems. Remedial work may range from improving flashing details and repairs to cracks in the exterior cladding, through to a full re-clad of the property and the installation of a cavity system. This may be an expensive and stressful exercise and some home owners have found themselves unable to afford the appropriate work. Legal action can be undertaken either via the court system or via the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service.

During this process, the value of the property can be significantly negatively affected and the ability of the homeowner to sell the property reduced.

Leaky homes can become dangerous, often without your knowledge. Where moisture ingress has occurred, the structural integrity of the dwelling may be compromised. Rotting around balcony areas and other structural aspects of the building can lead to the failure of these structures.

Health risks from leaky homes

There are significant health concerns regarding leaking buildings. Where moisture ingress and rot have occurred in timbers, mould spores will germinate and grow rapidly. Mould is a known allergen, and where the mould is toxic, the effect on the health of those living in the environment can be serious. This will particularly effect those with pre-existing allergies, young children whose immune system is not fully developed, or elderly people.

What's been done to prevent more leaky homes being built?

In June 2004, the government introduced the new Compliance Document for weathertight solutions known as E2 which determines one way of meeting Clause E2 of the Building Code, which relates to external moisture.

The new solution relates to the way in which buildings are designed and constructed to prevent moisture damage. In particular, the new solution is centered around more detail about cladding products, the risks of moisture, and the use of cavities and installation requirements. It also covers problem areas such as decks, windows, junctions and flashings.

In addition, the government has also changed a separate Acceptable Solution (B2/AS1) which relate to treated timber. This change will assist the way buildings can cope if moisture enters.