Thursday, August 4, 2011

Timing is everything

It doesn't take long to tear down a house that stood for over 80 years... one man in a digger can get through a lot of destruction in just one day...

It's almost 11 months since the very first earthquake in this monumental series of seismic events shook us from our beds at around 4.30am. Life has been a rollercoaster ride ever since - physically and emotionally. If it's not the ground lurching beneath your feet, it's the financial sucker-punch of a sudden loss in equity and income.

I'm not bitter about the loss of my house... it may have been cute to look at but it was a bitch to heat in winter, and the 'to-do' list was way longer than the 'done' list! So even though we stood there mentally adding up the costs of the new roof, new bathroom & new windows, we could make a bigger list of the things we hadn't quite gotten around to yet. We had planned to save some floorboards for some kind of commemorative artwork but they all turned out to be full of borer. So really, it's not all doom & gloom in regards to the house.
Check out the sophisticated 1930s era "foundations" ^^... kerosene cans filled with concrete. Not attached to the house or the ground, just sitting there. We made sure to point this out to our (ex)neighbour, as his house was almost certainly built by the same guy at around the same time, and is bound to have the same kind of dodgy construction.
Monday & Tuesday were cleanup days and, bit by bit, the section was cleared.

This is what we now own:
Hubby's standing about where our back door used to be.

Once again however, our timing appears to be just about perfect. Perfectly wrong that is.

On February 21st, when I spoke to AMI about our September claim, they had all the information in front of them and would be making a decision within a couple of days. That decision ultimately took another 5 months and in the meantime the earth shook a few thousand more times, my hubby lost his job and our lives turned upside down once again.

We rang the council today, to inform them of our home's demise and ask what the deal is with rates for empty sections. As it stands currently, if your house is demolished partway through the ratings year, you pay full rates until the end of that rating period. Conversely, if a new house is built during the year, full rates apply from the start of the following rating year.

The ratings year starts on July 1st.

We have been unable to live in our house for the last 11 months. In all that time, we have been dutifully paying rates to our local council. We did get a rebate in early Feb (based on our structural engineer's report) but that didn't last long and we're back up to full rates on a house we haven't lived in since almost this time last year... a house that no longer even exists.

I know that the issue of demolitions and rates demands is among many things the councillors are considering as part of their draft annual plan. However, until they pluck a formula out of their collective arses, we'll be paying a full rates bill every quarter on our non-existant dwelling. In fact, we're really paying twice - rates on our current residence are funded by our weekly rent payments, and that's the only property of the two that is actively consuming council services.

Delays have not been kind to us. Every time there's a holdup in the system, it costs us more money. We're still trying to figure out the paperwork required by EQC for the contents payout, chasing our tails in ever-decreasing circles as we go between the insurance company, the project manager, the demolition company and the council.

We simply do not need this bright red tape getting in the way all the time. Wave it often enough, and it starts to look like a taunting flag...

No comments:

Post a Comment