As a guilty pleasure, we can admit to watching the odd season of The Block, as everyday Aussies hastily rebuild and decorate new apartments and homes on live TV, ready for auction. It is a good example of dos and don’ts in construction and interior design, and KDD Conveyancing Services has seen and experienced plenty of non-compliant structures over the years.

When you’re buying or selling a home in Perth, dealing with non-compliant structures that don’t follow the rules can be a bit tricky. These structures might have been changed without the proper permits or in a way that goes against the local building codes.

These can be secretly built granny flats out the back, sheds, DIY patios, or spa pools. There are your usual culprits; however, first home renovators don’t often realise that if you cut corners, it tends to come back to haunt you when it’s time to move on and sell up.

So what do you do when you discover the property is non-compliant?

Firstly, there could be many reasons why the situation occurred; for instance, builders are often restricted to seasonal conditions and only work according to the weather. This means that if the project was delayed (which it often is), it may have been rushed to completion and the paperwork not filed properly. Another example is if the builders were not up to date with the latest building code requirements or the property owner opted to DIY some parts to stay within budget. No matter what circumstances lead to a non-compliant structure being built, buyer beware to ensure all the paperwork is in order and all structures are compliant.

For folks looking to buy a home, it’s important to be careful about these non-compliant structures. They might seem nice, but they could lead to maintenance problems down the road. To make a smart choice, take the time to check the property thoroughly and get some advice from legal experts who know about these things. This will help you know what you’re getting into and if there are any risks.

It is a good idea to organise a building inspector to assess;

  • The property floor plans and note the inconsistencies. You will need to get the owner’s permission to obtain copies of the plans from the local council.
  • Any costly damage or maintenance issues.
  • Review the current building codes and report any non compliant parts.

If you’re the one selling the home and there are structures that don’t meet the rules, it’s best to be upfront about it. Being honest is not just the right thing to do; it’s also the law. Not telling the buyer about these issues can cause costly legal headaches down the road. It’s a good idea to fix the problems before you put the house on the market. If that’s not possible, you’ll need to work with the buyer to figure out a fair solution. The buyer could ask that the non-compliant structures be brought up to code before finalising the sale, or you could offer to deduct the cost from the total price of the property. 

Remember, talking openly with your settlement agent is really important. If there are non-compliant structures, it’s best to have a conversation about them. Working together to find a solution can make things smoother for everyone. This might mean getting the right permits or even removing the structures that don’t follow the rules.

For buyer’s looking to purchase a property with a non-compliant structure, you may also be able to take out a “known risk” title insurance policy. Speak to your conveyancer for more information, or visit Stewart Title’s website for more information.

To sum it up, buying or selling a home with non-compliant structures can be a bit tricky, but it’s not impossible. Just be careful, talk honestly, and work together to find the best way forward. This way, you can make your property settlement and conveyance a success without any surprises.

For those seeking professional guidance for residential conveyancing processes in Perth and surrounding suburbs, KDD Conveyancing is a reliable source of information. Visit KDD Conveyancing online or please contact us; we’d love to chat.

You can follow our blog, where we share our wisdom, including more helpful tips and insights on the Perth property market.

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