4 bedrooms, but not - any redress in Canberra?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Francesco, 1st Nov, 2019.

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  1. Francesco

    Francesco Well-Known Member

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    This is a situation in the ACT.

    The scenario is an advertised 4 bedroom house was purchased less than 10 years ago. Both buyer's and seller's service providers, real estate agents and legal and para legal team, treated it as a 4 bedroom house. Now, the house is to be sold and seller's inspector called it a 10A structure and not a 1A structure bedroom. This main bedroom was a renovated glass sun room extension. So, if the house were to be advertised factually as a 3 bedroom and a glorified sun room there will be a loss of financial valuation.

    Is there cause for worthwhile legal action against any of the parties involved at purchase some 10 years ago for professional negligence and misrepresentation?

    To get the ball rolling, my impression is that any action could be taken against the building inspectors who did not correct the misinformation 10 years ago. Not so much against the real estate agents involved, who the public may expect to exaggerate in the course of marketing in non legal communication - a case of buyer beware. Whether any court action is worthwhile or not is what a precedent case may offer as a guide.

    I am wary, and others may differ, that court action would lead to a financially productive outcome. It may be better to pursue what requirements are to amend the classification of 10A sun room to 1A bedroom. It may just require an inspector to validate features and submit the requisite forms and payment of fees.

    Your comments and feedbacks are appreciated and welcomed. I will refer this thread to the interested party to follow.
     
  2. Paul@PAS

    [email protected] Tax, Accounting + SMSF + All things Property Tax Business Plus Member

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    You would need legal advice. Statute of limitations may apply to strike a claim from being pursued. And then you may need to prove that 10years ago a party was negligent. The contract description did not agree with what was council approved ? Did anyone request or perform a search to check ? Dont assume they were. Its often offered and a buyer just assumes its approved and it stands and doesnt want any extra costs. The buyer entered into the contract not the solicitor etc.
     
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  3. Francesco

    Francesco Well-Known Member

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    Your advice on the statute of limitation may be the critical point. According to Owen Hodge Lawyers:

    Limitation Period To Bring An Action For Professional Negligence Claim

    The limitation period to bring an action of claim against professional negligence varies between 3 to 6 years depending on the statutory legislation applicable in each state. In each case the limitation period runs from the time when the cause of action happens, that is when damage is suffered as a consequence of breach of duty.

    Thanks.

    In the circumstance, I think an operative option is to consult a building inspector about the feasibility of getting the existing structure approved as A1 bedroom.
     
  4. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    Personally I don't think there's much of claim even if there was no limitation period issues. Honestly, this sort of thing needs to be checked by the appropriate professional before buying or settlement if its an issue.

    REAs, conveyancers, and even the usual building inspectors are not the appropriate professional in most cases.
     
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    The agent relies on the information provided by the client/vendor. If seller say it is 12 bedrooms, why should they query it
     
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  6. QldKoolies

    QldKoolies Well-Known Member

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    I’m not familiar with ACT building developments process, however, it may have been originally approved as habitable in the DA for the renovation/extension based on a decision considering a range of factors the current inspector is unaware of. An allowance may have been made. Unless the inspector has the council docs and has reviewed the decision notices I would do some more digging before accepting their assessment on if its a room or not.
     
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  7. Francesco

    Francesco Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the comments, especially @QldKoolies for suggesting the check of the renovation DA. I have referred the interested party to consult an ACT certifier about the potential to revise classification.

    There is still hope of a good outcome, albeit at a small price! :)
     
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  8. QldKoolies

    QldKoolies Well-Known Member

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    You may not have to revise it so first call should be the council, may be a small fee for the record copies or you could sweet talk their developments team to just look for you. The certifier will cost $$ upfront to look at the case.
     
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