While most people are counting the number of shopping days until Christmas, lawyer Dan Parker is counting the number of days until his class action lawsuit against giant multi-national James Hardie can sign up no more leaky home owners.
So far just 70 homeowners have joined the action seeking damages from Hardies over what Parker says was defective Harditex and Titan board cladding. The company denies the claims.
Aucklander Mark Russell is counting the days too, and hoping more people will join him in signing up to the lawsuit, which may be the last chance many leaky home owners have to seek the money to repair and reclad their homes.
Russell, and his wife Robyn, has decided to go public with his story of how he came to find out his home on a tranquil bush-clad section with views over the Manukau Harbour leaked. It’s a big step for Russell, who until recently had not told friends, family and acquaintances that he was among the legion of people caught up in the leaky building debacle, which has left homeowners with a repair bill running into the billions of dollars.
“Robyn and I are really open about the whole thing now. It has helped us. “It was very stressful holding it in, keeping it secret. “There was a combination of emotions, definitely one was embarrassment, but we knew we could not hide under a stone.”
When the couple started telling people, they expected people to judge them harshly, and blame them for getting themselves into the predicament though like many leaky building owners, they got a building inspection, and have maintained their home scrupulously.
Mainly they’ve met with rapt curiosity, after people have expressed condolences.
“Most of them have straight away offered an apology,” Russell says.
It’s almost as though people were responding to a death in the family.