In a perfect world, real estate developers and property owners would follow safety regulations and disclose relevant information to potential buyers. And if they didn’t, we could count on a watchdog who would enforce those laws and ensure compliance. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that perfect world, and it is in your best interest to develop a healthy skepticism as you navigate the real estate market. In this podcast, host Toni Planinsek exposes “real estate rule breakers” via anecdotes from her personal experience in the world of property investment.
While laws and guidelines have been established to protect the public, it is naïve to assume that oversight is in place to make certain that the rules are being followed. Media coverage of recent fires brought attention to the fact that 2,000 buildings in Australia contain flammable non-compliant cladding; somehow this illegal building material made it past Customs and building inspectors. Even now, developers are waiting for owners corporations to sue before taking action to correct the issue.
It is not always clear who is responsible for making sure that regulations are respected. In the case of pool fencing regulations, Planinsek attempted to report non-compliance to local and state agencies, both of which claimed it was not their responsibility.
Potential buyers dealing with the body corporate, especially newcomers to the real estate market, must read section 32 of the contract provided by the owners corporation as well as the minutes of the last annual general meeting very carefully and ask questions to know exactly what they’re getting into. Planinsek was assisting a friend in securing an apartment when she noticed an entry regarding “vertical noise transmission” in the provided minutes. After following up, she discovered that the building doesn’t comply with the law concerning sound requirements. Not only that, the building owner doesn’t know how to rectify the situation. At the very least, the tenants will be inconvenienced as false ceilings are installed. At worst, the owners corporation may have to initiate legal proceedings if the owner doesn’t find a workable solution.
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