Edmonds Judd


Property Briefs

Is your property fully insured?

There are potential insurance risks for properties that have shared areas, for example multi-storey town houses, semi-detached homes which share a party wall, and cross lease properties which have carports, the Insurance Council of New Zealand has warned. 

If your property does not have a body corporate that manages insurance cover for the whole property, and if you and your neighbours have different insurance providers, you may find that any shared property such as carports, party walls and roofs will not be covered by your insurance.

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Getting help when you have difficulties with your insurer or financial services provider

The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman office (IFSO) was established in 1995 to help consumers who were in dispute with their insurers or financial services providers.

The IFSO[1] is a free, independent entity to which you can lodge a complaint regarding the conduct and decisions of insurance and financial services providers, once you have exhausted that provider’s internal complaints procedures.

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Fire Hazards

Look after your property

Four years ago we published an article about the risk of fire in the rural sector and the consequences of not holding appropriate insurance cover (Rural eSpeaking, Issue 12, Winter–Spring 2013). The number of rural fires throughout the country seems to be increasing each year.

Gisborne fire

Recently Stuff reported on a case in Gisborne[1] where the Gisborne District Council was found by a judge to have acted negligently by “failing to address a fire hazard on its block of land” when a fire began on the land and caused damage to the neighbouring sawmill owned by Double J Smallwoods Limited. The judge ordered the council to pay Double J Smallwoods’ owners more than $875,000 in damages for the loss caused by the fire, which had occurred some seven years before.

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Property Briefs

Misrepresentations in property transactions: keep to the facts

The difference between ‘misrepresentations’ (which may support a claim for damages) and ‘mere puffery’ (being statements no reasonable person would take seriously) isn’t always clear. Enticing a purchaser into a contract by misrepresentations was a costly mistake by the vendor in a recent case. (1)

Aldrie Holdings Ltd (through its director Ms Laboyrie) purchased a farm for $2,900,000, but failed to make proper investigations before confirming the contract. Instead Aldrie chose to rely on statements made by Mr Prout, the vendor’s agent. Mr Prout boasted that the level of pasture, milking shed and water at the property were ‘excellent’. Given Ms Laboyrie’s general business experience, the judge held that these statements were clearly puffery as a reasonable purchaser would have made further enquiries to validate those claims.

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If you are considering entering into an Agreement for Sale and Purchase, whether it be for a rural or residential property, purchasers should be mindful that obtaining insurance for the property may not be as easy as it once has been. Following the recent earthquakes in Wellington and Malborough some insurers are restricting the issuing of new policies. Before any Agreement for Sale and Purchase is confirmed unconditional, purchasers need to first ensure they will have adequate (and acceptable to any lender) insurance cover in place for the property.

As a result of the Christchurch earthquakes and recent natural events, insurance has been thrust into the limelight, with regard to the increasing cost (and the extent) of cover. The cost of fire and general insurance has increased dramatically and, accordingly, people are looking much more closely at what they are getting for their premiums and at the level of cover they have. In some instances, people are deciding to live with a level of risk, but two recent cases[1] involving the same incident show just how dangerous some of these decisions can be. Continue reading