An advertised 3/4 bed, became 2 due to Legal Height of bedrooms!

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by MudHoney, 20th Jun, 2018.

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  1. MudHoney

    MudHoney Member

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    Around 4 years ago my wife and I purchased a home advertised as a 3 bedroom with possibility of a 4th smaller bedroom\study. We conducted building and pest without issue and all was signed off and we were happy to proceed with purchase. 4 years on while going through the motions of an appraisal, an agent mentioned he didn't think the 2 rooms (previous sleepout\sunrooms) were of legal height for Brisbane. I've measured these and in fact they are 2.31 cm (9cms below legal height for a habitable room).
    This was either known by sellers and agent and undisclosed, or not and missed by the building inspection either way. Any ideas what type of legal discourse I could have here? A few agents since have suggested I could take action against the original agent, but that may be palmed off to the owners who signed the contract, while others have suggested that I take action against the building inspector. In both cases it has been suggested that we could look for compensation around the loss of property value over such?
    Personally I wonder whether it's just easier to look at how we raise the ceiling height if possible (gabled roof on outside implies we could lean the roof and acheve 70 percent legal height which gets the tick ) and not worry about the stress of taking action?
     
  2. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Can’t see how the agent could be at fault. It’s not their job to measure ceiling heights.

    See what the fine print says in the building inspection report.
     
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  3. neK

    neK Well-Known Member

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    Dig out the floor?
     
  4. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    If the property was new four years ago you may have a case worth talking to a lawyer about.
    However, an older property is likely to have endless stuff that is no longer compliant. However, four years ago it may have been compliant because the law has changed in that time.
    You could seek the advice of a lawyer but I would be talking to a builder instead. The building inspector would be the only party worth pursuing and I doubt they did the wrong thing.
    I would thoroughly read your building inspection report before you do anything (twice). Then talk to a qualified builder who is up to date with current code and go from there.
     
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  5. lightbulbmoment

    lightbulbmoment Well-Known Member

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    Your kidding , Take action against the agent lol.
    You bought the place cant see why you want someone else to compensate you over this issue.
    I wouldnt worry about it just leave it as is.
     
  6. TSK

    TSK Well-Known Member

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    pest and buildings report t+cs are pretty tight, I doubt any avenue there. I suspect you'll just need to raise ceiling somehow and take the financial hit.
     
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  7. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    The fact that the two rooms were described as ‘sleepout’ or ‘sunrooms’ leads me to think this is an older house which has had bits added on - or porches enclosed - to make the extra rooms rather than being built like that from the beginning.
     
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  8. MudHoney

    MudHoney Member

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    To be fair, i'm not looking to take action against an agent, as I said it was another agent (doing the appraisal) who suggested I do so, and it is why i am here, with mostly firendly people, asking for clarification. you'll see that I also said I think it may be easier to just account for this myself and not take any action as suggested.
     
  9. MudHoney

    MudHoney Member

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    Thanks! yeah the selling agent has replied to an email I sent earlier and she more or less says the rooms were originally built in back in the 1930's and at the time, and beyond that, were classified bedrooms. She believes that, that being the case and the fact they are untouched, they are still allowed to be classified as bedrooms now as they were the originally built bedrooms in 1930. She did suggest I absolutely clarify that, but that is her understanding.
     
  10. MudHoney

    MudHoney Member

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    Dig to the next suburb perhaps! ;)
     
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  11. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    In that case, given the age of the building, I doubt you can do anything re: agent; re: Building inspector.

    As for whether they are classed as bedrooms now, if they do not meet code...probably technically no. Probably no for rental and it's a massive grey area for sale. Certainly I would seek advice from someone who understands the current Building Code of Australia and/or read it yourself.
     
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  12. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Also, remember that there are many building components that were built ‘to code’ in the past which do not comply with the current building code but are acceptable today. Especially if they are not ‘dangerous’ as such.

    The ceiling may not need to be changed at all and the rooms may possibly be considered habitable based on when it was built.

    A low ceiling built in 1930 may be different to building in the lower floor of a queenslander in 1995.

    Get advice and don’t assume the worst.
     
    Last edited: 20th Jun, 2018
  13. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually not sure about this. The Council ("Local Area") can potentially require buildings to be fixed to meet code under the BCA. Whether they would is another question.
     
  14. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    To give an example, there are lots of double storey houses without the window opening limiters installed. No-one is going around making owners install them retrospectively to meet the modern code.

    Or making people install 6 star insulation retrospectively. Or water proofing their bathroom to a modern standard retrospectively if they aren’t actually redoing the bathroom.

    Pool fences are a different story.
     
    Last edited: 20th Jun, 2018
  15. hobartchic

    hobartchic Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. The reality is that they could though. I've seen a council order a balcony redone even though it was stable. Stairs to be redone. House no longer considered habitable until fixed. Property has since sold and does not look fixed but I suspect someone is living there.
     
  16. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    If a Council said a balcony needed redoing, it is most likely because it wasn’t safe - they can seem solid as a rock to a layperson but can still actually be a hazard.

    Or maybe it hadn’t gone through the permit process at all when built?
     
  17. SeafordSunshine

    SeafordSunshine Well-Known Member

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    When I was at night school it was Caveat Emptor.
    Sad but true.
     
  18. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Speak with an independent heritage architect - they may be able she'd some light on prior building codes when the house was constructed. Whether there's any requirement to modify the structure to meet current standards to call the rooms habitable or If you should only rent to vertically challenged tenants.
     
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  19. d_walsh

    d_walsh Well-Known Member

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    Get legal/architect advice re: options. Common sense doesn’t always prevail with councils.
     
  20. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Common sense doesn't enter into it. It comes down to the interpretation of the instruments.
     
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