Slips – who is responsible?

Affected by a slip? The following information outlines what action you should take, what help is available, and who might be responsibility for fixing a slip.

Affected by a slip? The following information outlines what action you should take, what help is available, and who might be responsibility for fixing a slip.

Who to call

  • If there is an immediate safety risk to people or property call 111.
  • If the road or footpath is blocked call the Council’s contact centre on 237 5089 and we’ll arrange to clear the debris and get the road or footpath open.
  • If you believe a slip on Council land is affecting your private property call our contact centre on 237-5089. They’ll find the right people to help you. You can check property boundaries and ownership through the GIS maps on our website
  • Regardless of who you think is responsible for the slip, call your insurer.  They’ll let you know what you’re covered for.
  • If the slip is within 8m of your property footprint or foundation call the Earthquake Commission (EQC) on 0800 DAMAGE (326 243). You may be eligible for financial assistance. Please share this advice in any subsequent discussions with the Council. 

What is Council’s responsibility?

  • If the slip is entirely within Council land and doesn’t cause any damage to private land, then fixing the slip is our responsibility.  We’ll assess what action is required.
  • If the slip is entirely within private property boundary and doesn’t cause damage to Council land or assets, then it’s entirely the property owner’s responsibility to fix.
  • If the slip comes from Council land on to private property or falls from private property on to Council land, then both parties will need to be involved to work out a resolution. The Council may or may not be responsible, but the Council can be an affected party as much as the private property owner can be.

What is your responsibility?

  • If the slip is entirely on your private land, then it is your responsibility as the land owner to fix.  In the first instance call your insurer for advice and assistance.  You should also contact EQC. This may include a situation where a slip spans two or more private properties.  In this situation you’ll need to agree with your neighbour/s how to fix the situation.
  • If the slip is on private land and is likely to threaten Council property and/or infrastructure, then please advise us ASAP by calling the Council’s contact centre on 237 5089.
  • If the slips causes damage to Council land, we’ll need to work together to agree the best way for you to fix the damage.

How to determine your property boundaries

The Council has an online GIS system that shows property boundaries. The GIS system shows an indicative boundary line. It is fairly accurate in most cases, but in some instances a professional survey may be required to define the exact location of the boundary. You will need to contact a private surveyor to carry out this work. Council does not undertake surveys of private properties.

Many people wrongly assume their fence marks their legal boundary. This is often not the case and what you think is your land may be your neighbour’s or what you think may be your neighbour’s land could be yours.

Managing slips on Council road reserve.

Sometimes a slip will be on Council road reserve land. This is the area of land around roads that is owned by Council to keep the roads and footpaths operating. Your property will most likely border road reserve and you may have structures on it.

Your responsibility
If you have a private asset on or crossing road reserve, such as a footpath to your property, a driveway, a garage, a wall or fence, it should have been consented or approved by the Council and it remains your responsibility to maintain and repair. Check with your insurer about what can be insured on road reserve. In the case of a slip it will be your responsibility to reinstate the private asset on road reserve.

Council responsibility
If the slip is entirely within Council land and does not cause any damage to private land, then fixing the slip is our responsibility.  We’ll decide what action is required.
If the slip comes from Council land and affects private land, then both parties will need to be involved to work out a resolution. The Council may or may not be responsible to repair it.

Earthquake Commission (EQC) responsibility
The EQC is a New Zealand Crown entity which provides insurance to residential property and invests in natural disaster research and education. If your home is insured, you may be covered by EQC for a natural landslip. You’ll find a good summary of what’s covered by EQC on its website here.

In general, the current EQC advice is that EQCover insures land that is part of your land holding and:

  • is under your home or outbuildings (e.g. a garage or shed)
  • is within eight metres of your home or outbuildings
  • is part of or supporting the main access way (e.g. the driveway) up to 60 metres from your home.

Cover does not include any artificial surfaces like concrete or asphalt that cover the access way.

Any EQC pay-out is intended to remediate the damage claimed for and it’s important you keep the Council informed of any assistance you receive.

For more information go to the EQC website or call them on 0800 DAMAGE (3260243)