The 80-year-old was left "virtually homeless" by the liquidation of NZ Tiny Homes and received $190,000 out of pocket

The 80-year-old was left “virtually homeless” by the liquidation of NZ Tiny Homes and received $190,000 out of pocket

It should be her dream house.

Now 80-year-old Carol Wright is “effectively homeless” after a tiny home company went into liquidation, leaving her without a home and potentially $190,000 out of her own pocket.

NZ Tiny Homes said it was going into liquidation earlier this week, citing two years of “hurdles” including supply chain problems, illness and a 50% rise in building material costs.

Six builds were described as “almost complete” and three had yet to be started.

Wright visited the company’s show home in Napier earlier this year and was so impressed that she signed a contract for a home to be completed in November, she said.

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“I’ve downsized in anticipation, selling and giving away things I wouldn’t have room for in my tiny home. I had paid for a brand new fridge, washing machine and two new televisions. I was so excited.”

She lived with her family until construction was complete, in addition to paying for a water tank and other expenses involved in preparing a site for their tiny home.

HOMETOWN

Tiny homes are becoming increasingly popular and budget is often an issue, but the amount you have to pay can vary greatly.

The completion date was pushed back at the beginning of November because the company was waiting for the kitchen to be delivered.

Just two days ago, she received an email confirming her faucets had been installed and informing her that the company would start planning for delivery.

“Just under 24 hours later, I was officially informed that the company had gone into liquidation. I was shaken.

“I would find a way to complete it in Central Hawke’s Bay, but at almost 81 and a broken leg, going there wasn’t an option.”

She suggested to the bankruptcy trustee that she would pay more for delivery to have the house shipped incomplete, but was told it could not be released even though she had paid for it in full.

Liquidators told Wright that the home was not hers, but a business asset, as it was unfinished and noncompliant.

NZ Tiny Homes owner Jamie Cameron said the company went into liquidation because of two tough years.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

NZ Tiny Homes owner Jamie Cameron said the company went into liquidation because of two tough years.

“Had it been completed by the first week of November, as previously said, the house would be complete and I would be like others and able to possess it.”

She was then told that her house would likely be auctioned. That could mean it would be sold a second time and the company could effectively be paid twice for the same house, she said.

“Mr Cameron left us with false hopes our bespoke homes will not be completed for us, they will be sold for a second time for someone else to enjoy.

“Now, with my 81st birthday and Christmas fast approaching, I’m no longer in my tiny dream house, I’m homeless and uncertain about my future.”

Attorney Thomas Biss of Henderson Reeves said that until the deal is finalized and the house is finished, it is likely true that the house will remain the property of the company and that Wright will be an unsecured creditor.

“The first thing to look at is the contract. A contract is formed between the company and the customer. That will almost always deal with that as the title goes.”

As an unsecured creditor, she would get her money back after all debts to secured creditors such as the bank were settled.

Meanwhile, Donna Toner, a woman from Wellington, bought a tiny house from the company for $140,000 in 2019 — but the condensation was so bad it was “like a waterfall” inside, she said.

Still trying to make repairs, she said her home had a number of issues that she was unable to resolve with the company.

Condensation in Donna Toner's $140,000 tiny house is

delivered

Condensation in Donna Toner’s $140,000 tiny house is “like a waterfall,” she says.

She said the home had substandard insulation that was causing black mold everywhere, windows that were meant to open had been sealed causing poor airflow, the aluminum carpentry had no thermal breakers, Scotia fell and there was a large shower leak .

“Some minor issues have been fixed, but not to a qualified standard at all. Most issues have not been resolved as NZ Tiny Homes refuse to come to the party.”

The business ignored her as she threatened legal action and the cost of repairing the home was more than what she paid new, she said.

The NZ Tiny Homes owner didn’t respond when asked for comment.

Simple Projects shareholder and director Carl Pascoe said there is still strong demand for small homes and that a company going into liquidation is not a sign of a major problem with the market.

A fix for the leaking shower at Toner's house.

delivered

A fix for the leaking shower at Toner’s house.

His team builds small houses in a leased factory and offers visits by appointment, but he had about 10 to 12 visitors a week, and 40 families came for a recent open house. Another will take place on 26.11.

“Is the market viable? Absolutely, in high demand that shows no signs of slowing down. Yes, there are challenges, but this also applies to all business areas.

“We believe we can build 25 units per year and we aim to reach that level of production over the next few months,” he said.

The biggest challenge to the viability of the market is that many small homebuilders across Aotearoa have built homes that do not meet the standards required by the building code, he said.

Tiny homes, simply defined as properties less than 40 square meters of floor space, surged in popularity until the end of 2016, when there were 149 sales for the whole of calendar year 2016, said CoreLogic research director Goodall.

“Volume slowed a bit to a low of 95 in the 12 months ended June 2019, with sales then rising to a high of 152 in the 12 months ended June 2021.”

Sales are back down a bit with 86 sales for the year to the end of June 2022, however some sales may still be processed for this period.

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