Christchurch senior citizen resolves stoush with EQC, but still feels bullied

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A Christchurch senior citizen who has been involved in an ongoing stoush with the Earthquake Commission has finally won, but has been left feeling angry and bullied.

Colin Feneck, 67, was on the verge of being thrown out of his temporary accommodation as EQC halted rent payments in January this year, resulting him being called before the Tenancy Tribunal.

The reason for the dispute was Mr Feneck's refusal to sign a Settlement agreement that included a confidentiality clause preventing him from criticising the government department.

"I've been using the word strong arm tactics for a long time," Mr Feneck says.

He has been out of his Spreydon home for 18 months, while a re-repair is carried out after his initial earthquake repairs were botched.

Now, at the eleventh hour, once Mr Feneck appointed a lawyer, EQC has agreed to settle.

His lawyer, Duncan Webb, says "It's unbelievable that at the eleventh hour after months of ongoing troubles and being taken to the tenancy tribunal that EQC folds and pays the cheque".

He describes EQC's standard contract as "Deeply troubling. EQC is not being run like a government department, it’s being run like a commercial entity and it's wrong".

In a statement, EQC says, "EQC had met Mr Feneck's temporary accommodation costs between 1 August 2015 until 16 January 2017.

"EQC offered to meet the cost of Mr Feneck’s rent until 1 May 2017.

"This was set out in an offer which Mr Feneck declined because of a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. This clause is a standard term in settlement agreements.

EQC refused to pay a temporary accommodation supplement to the man unless he signed a confidentiality agreement.
Source: 1 NEWS

"EQC understands that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise applied to the Tenancy Tribunal seeking rent arrears owed to it by Mr Feneck for the period from 16 January 2017 to 30 April 2017."

Also in the statement, EQC said it "was not a party to those proceedings but was summonsed as a witness to a hearing on Thursday last week".

"EQC was advised that repairs would be completed by mid-April 2017, a fact it considered carefully before making its previous offer and issuing a payment to MBIE last week."

Mr Feneck says he is relieved that EQC has finally made the payment to MBIE, the government department that ran the Temporary Accommodation Village at the time of the dispute.

He says after the lengthy battle "I'm not me anymore, and I want to get back to being me".

He hopes to be back home in two months, when his re-repair is finally complete.

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