Information for property owners with red and yellow placards
After the recent weather events in Nelson, we know that many people have been unable to regain any, or full, access to their homes. This will be a very frustrating, unsettling, and worrying time for you and your family.
We also recognise that the process of making an insurance claim can feel overwhelming and confusing, so Nelson City Council has put together this information to help. This includes general information on the following:
- how to safely clean up,
- how to make an insurance claim,
- how to regain access to your home,
- and how to access funding support through the Mayoral Relief Fund.
Your circumstances are unique so please seek advice and support if you are unsure.
What should I do first?
If you have not already done so, you must first call your insurance company to let them know you may have a claim. Your insurance company will be managing your insurance claim and your EQCover claim. EQCover insures your home and some areas of your residential land against loss or damage from natural disasters like landslips and earthquakes. It also insures your residential land (within limits) against storm and flood damage.
Private insurers will manage EQCover claims on behalf of Toka Tū Ake EQC. They will assess, manage, and decide your entire claim – including the EQCover portion – giving you one point of contact.
When you make a claim, the insurance company will appoint a loss adjuster (assessor), who may be third-party. The insurance company may also co-ordinate other specialists such as engineers (including geotechnical) and valuers, as required. There could be multiple companies visiting your home, but your insurance company will be responsible for coordinating and managing this.
If you have natural disaster damage and are unsure who your private insurer is or who to notify, call 0800 DAMAGE (326 423).
What if I do not have insurance?
If you need urgent assistance because you have no house or contents insurance, it would be best to contact either the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) or the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to see what advice they can offer. MSD can be reached on msd.govt.nz or by phone on 0800 559 009. The local CAB office is at 9 Paru Paru Road, Nelson or you can call them on 03 548 2117 or visit their website cab.org.nz
KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE
How can I access my home if it has a red placard?
Red placards indicate a building is dangerous and entry is prohibited as there is a significant risk to health and safety. This could be because the building has sustained moderate to heavy damage, or it is at risk from external factors such as adjacent buildings or land instability.
No person should enter any dangerous building unless authorised to do so.
Short-term entry may be permitted after consultation with Council’s building team, on a case-by-case basis, and subject to appropriate supervision. The steps below set out how to arrange authorisation:
- Working with your insurance company you should seek advice from an appropriate professional who will advise on the next steps. Depending on the risk to your property, this advice could be from a geotechnical engineer or a structural engineer, builder, electrician or drainlayer/plumber.
- Please email email@example.com (or call into the Customer Service Centre with details) to provide Council’s building team with all the details of proposed entry to the building, including time, duration of access proposed and details from the professional advice provided to you.
- The building team will consider your proposal and issue written authorisation via email to access the building. The team may require you to provide more information in order to make a decision, and in some cases, proposals will be refused due to the high risk to life safety.
If your building is damaged, owners should seek advice from a chartered professional engineer or building professional and in the case of land damage, a geotechnical engineer, before carrying out any remedial work. If there is urgent work that needs to be done, please contact your insurer and Council before proceeding.
How do I change the placard colour? (For red or yellow placard properties)
If you want to change the placard colour (from red or yellow to white), then you must provide evidence to Council about the structural status of your building and property. This is to make sure that the ground, building and infrastructure network is safe.
Unfortunately, in some cases this will not yet be possible. You should speak to your insurance company if you have a red or yellow placard, to understand what the next steps are for you.
If you want to get people to undertake work on your property, you will need to let Council know and inform your insurer before the work starts.
Some work may be exempt from requiring a building consent. In all other cases a building consent will be required. For information on building work that does not require a building consent and general building consent enquiries, please visit the Nelson City Council website page Building work exempt from building consent or phone 03 546 0200.
It is important that any work is done in liaison with Council and in conjunction with appropriate experts and professionals. This could be clearing of debris, further detailed assessments of the building infrastructure network (piped services), ground repairs or remedial works.
- Before clearing landslide/slip debris, you should seek the advice of a geotechnical engineer.
- Before any removal or repairs to the building structure, retaining walls, demolition or remediation, you must seek advice of a building professional or structural engineer (your insurer will help you decide this).
- During an event, the infrastructure network (piped services) connected to your property could have been damaged. This would need to be checked to make sure if it is safe to use.
- Check your water supply is in place and working and check if there is damage to stormwater pipes. Is there any indication of damage to sewer pipes on your land? If in doubt relating to your piped infrastructure (water, sewerage or stormwater), please seek advice from a registered plumber/drain layer.
- Check your electricity connection is in safe working order. If you have any concerns, please check with a registered electrician.
Please note: before any works or demolition, be aware of any live power sources, (check with Network Tasman Limited by calling 0800 508 098) and the potential for asbestos in buildings. If the building was constructed prior to 2000 there is potential for asbestos to be present in the building. This should be safely located and removed prior to any demolition, to avoid contamination of the property. See WorkSafe information at worksafe.govt.nz/topic-and-industry/asbestos.
Once work has been undertaken, then you can contact Nelson City Council to request an assessment to determine if the risks have been sufficiently reduced for the placard colour to be changed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 546 0200 to book an inspection.
Once I get into my house, how should I deal with all the damage?
The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has this checklist to follow as you start the process of cleaning up:
- Safety first: when it is your home and there is flood water or any other hazards, don’t do anything to put yourself or others at risk. Floodwater can contain contaminants, so assume that anything that the floodwater has been in contact with is contaminated. Wear gloves, masks and gumboots to protect yourselves.
- Contact your insurance company and they will tell you what you can throw away and how to go about disposing of it. If your home has had water or silt through it, your insurance company will want you to start the drying process of your home as quickly as possible.
- Take photos of EVERYTHING.
- Food waste & kitchen utensils that have been under water – throw away.
- Wet carpet – cut out a sample and keep it, take photos, then get it out of the house and get rid of it.
- Soft furnishings such as beds and couches – take them outside, take photos of the damage, then dispose of appropriately if ruined, but make sure you take it outside to help the house dry out. If insurers say dispose of, then you should.
- DO NOT lift floorboards, take out walls, or cut out the wet bottom of plasterboard etc. Qualified people must do this.
- For silt directly under and around your home, take good photos before starting the clean-up.
What if my rental property is damaged?
If you are the tenant or landlord of a rental property, you can find information on your rights and obligations at tenancy.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).
I need financial help now
The Nelson Tasman Mayoral Relief Fund is open to any resident, ratepayer, business owner and not-for-profit organisation in Nelson Tasman that has suffered financial hardship because of the weather event which began on 16 August 2022. It will provide assistance on a one-off basis for circumstances where real need can be shown. To apply and find out more information, visit shape.nelson.govt.nz/mayor-relief-fund.
Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Work and Income New Zealand may be able to help. You can apply for a Civil Defence payment if you've been affected by the floods and slips. Call Work and Income on 0800 559 009 to apply.
I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now
- Anxiety is very common during an emergency event such as flooding and evacuations. This is a normal response to a stressful situation. Talking to people and helping others can be both therapeutic and useful.
- If you need further support for yourself or for others:
- Call your GP, after-hours GP practice or Healthline on 0800 611 116 (the first three flood-related GP visits are free, and your GP can help refer you on to other free services)
- Free-call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
- In an emergency, call 111
Where possible, try to get as much sleep as you can so you are rested to take on the challenges of the day.
Children will also find this time unsettling as they will be missing their home, toys and familiar surroundings. It is a good idea to explain what is going on to them, and to offer regular reassurance. There are some great tips here on how to do just that: nmdhb.govt.nz/home/weather-event-of-august-2022 – Scroll down to supporting tamariki mental wellbeing.
Where can I find more information?
Call your insurance company to make a claim or discuss any impacts from the severe weather.
Some useful information on natural disasters can be found on the ICNZ website: icnz.org.nz/natural-disasters/about-natural-disasters
Information about EQCover can be found on the Toka Tū Ake EQC website (eqc.govt.nz/what-we-do/what-youre-covered-for), as well as additional how-to guides.
The Citizens Advice Bureau is a useful resource to lean on for more help, particularly if you are uninsured. Our local CAB is at 9 Paru Paru Road, Nelson or you can call them on 03 548 2117 or visit their website cab.org.nz
MSD can be reached on msd.govt.nz or by phone on 0800 559 009.
If you need temporary accommodation, The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) is supporting people to find temporary accommodation while their home is inaccessible or being repaired/rebuilt.
To register for TAS help: tas.mbie.govt.nz/nelson-tasman-marlborough-flooding or call 0508 754 163