Auckland homeowner, developer reach settlement over house boundary

Source: Local Democracy Reporting

An Auckland homeowner who faced being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars after his property was built on his neighbour’s boundary, says he’s come out on top after reaching an out-of-court settlement.

By Stephen Forbes, Local Democracy Reporter

But the Manurewa resident says he can’t reveal details of the confidential agreement.

Deepak Lal had contracted Pinnacle Homes in 2019 to design and build the home in Papakura’s Parahau Rd.

But work on the three-bedroom house came to a grinding halt in August 2020 when the construction company called to tell him about the boundary mix-up.

Pinnacle Homes had hired Hamilton-based company HQ Designs to come up with the plans and file the building consent for the house. But an error in the drawings resulted in his new home being built right on the neighbour’s boundary.

The adjoining property was owned by C94 Development, which took legal action against Lal, asking him to move the house or pay $315,000 in damages.

The parties have since agreed to an out-of-court settlement, with Lal’s house demolished and $70,000 in damages paid to C94 Development. Lal sold the Parahau Rd section earlier this year.

He said he was happy those involved had been able to come to an agreement. Lal said he couldn’t comment on the details of it, but it was a good outcome for him and his family.

“At the end of the day all the parties reached an agreement and everything has been solved, so I’m happy with the end result.”

A C94 Development spokesperson said the company had no other choice than to take legal action to resolve the boundary dispute and the $70,000 it received went towards its legal fees.

But the spokesperson said after the agreement was reached in April it was still $30,000 out of pocket.

“The settlement didn’t cover all of our legal costs,” he said.

Auckland Council was approached for comment, but a spokeswoman said it was unable to comment further as the details of the settlement were confidential.

In May 2021, University of Auckland School of Architecture senior lecturer Bill McKay said Lal’s case highlighted failures by both the designer and the council.

“All professionals have to show a reasonable duty of care and in this case the designer should have known what the resource consent permitted when they submitted the building consent.”

But he said council staff should have also picked up the error in the location of Lal’s home when it was processing the application.

He said HQ Designs architectural designer Nitin Kumar’s note to the council to cross-check the building consent drawings with the original resource consent wasn’t good practice and he should have ensured the plans were correct before filing the application.

HQ Designs was approached for comment for this story.

Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air