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Clear dimensioned plans on websites and flyers

Discussion in 'General Property Chat' started by Burramys, 22nd Aug, 2016.

  1. Burramys

    Burramys Well-Known Member

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    In the last few weeks I've looked at a lot of property advertising. Most properties have plans. Some have dimensions. Some of these dimensions are legible, many are not. Some are in a black font, some are in grey. All or nearly all have conditions, which are often in a very small font. I have one before me that has an A4 page of information, the plan is about 55 mm long, dimensions are in 3 point, and the conditions cannot be read - too small. On a screen they cannot be read either - too faint and too grainy. Every property that I have measured has dimensions smaller than the plan, usually 7-10%. One property cited 88 sm on the advertising and was closer to 65 sm measured, an error of about 25%.

    The preceding makes it quite hard for prospective buyers to assess properties. Further, it seems to me that if dimensions are cited then they should be reasonably accurate. Instead, it appears that the dimensions have been made bigger to decieve. If so, then it may be that Australian Consumer Law provisions apply, notably Division, which deals with false or misleading representations. If so, then remedies exist. Other Acts also apply.

    Comments regarding the above would be valued.
     
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  2. JDM

    JDM Well-Known Member

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    I find a lot of the plans of poor quality/can't read the fine print are because they are using old plans from when the development was sold off the plan. If you have had new plans prepared they should be proper quality and legible.

    The reason for variations in the area can be:
    1. error
    2. gross v net (do you measure to the inside of the wall or the outside?)
    3. variations from the off the plan plans and the as built product.
    It is for this reason I usually recommend clients do not include dimensions in their floor plans.

    You are correct that the ACL/Fair Trading legislation may provide remedies if the plans are misleading.
     
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  3. larrylarry

    larrylarry Well-Known Member

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    Why would you rely on brochures or flyers? Get the S149 that comes with the contract. Apart from this, what have you suffered in terms of damages?
     
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  4. larrylarry

    larrylarry Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, just re-read the OP's post re floor plan. Agree with JDM. I think internal floor plans are helpful for buyers. Just got to make it really clear and precise.
     
  5. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    Report them, and move on I guess?
     
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  6. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    You may not have included, porch, veranda, garage with your calc for floor area ?

    Most things will say sizes are not to scale or some other legal out.

    At the end of the day, that is what you do checks of yourself, and only a survey would need to be accurate, but again, you need to do your own if you want to be as sure as possible.

    I prefer to ignore agents or agencies that regularly do things that appear to be misleading.
     
  7. larrylarry

    larrylarry Well-Known Member

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    I suppose some people would rely on the drawn plans without measuring themselves
    i will always have a measuring tape in my cars.
     
  8. Burramys

    Burramys Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies,, most illuminating, aspects I had not considered. Typo in my post. should have said Division 1 of ACL. Cannot work out how to edit. Correction fluid does not work at all.

    I can manage errors, but the dimensions I saw on the REA plans were all bigger than reality. If a room is 4000 X 3000 mm wall to wall the floor area is 12 square metres, not 4100 X 3100 mm equals 12.71 square metres from the centre of the walls. Yes, there may be variations from the builder's plan the finished product. If the information cannot be read easily or at all, it has been held that it may not apply. Section 2.3 of ACL deals with unfair terms in consumer contracts and being void. A plan is not a contract, but s. 2.3 shows the direction, and would being used as a yardstick in a court. A plan provides critical information, and saves wasting time of potential buyers. I'm now also thinking about the Crime Act, obtain financial advantage by deception. This may be a stretch, but it shows potential.

    I rely on my own measurements. The loss is that my time is wasted looking at properties that are not as depicted.

    Valid comment. The ones I am sure of have separate areas for the dwelling, porches, garage and the like. The porches and garages areas tend to be more accurate. The fine print about being indicative only, approximate dimensions and cannot be guaranteed is fair enough. However, when all or nearly the dimensions are bigger than reality, I have to wonder. Further, having dimensions and or a disclaimer that cannot be easily read brings in ACL.

    The matter will be reported. My hope is that all sales shall have a dimensioned plan based on the actual sizes, and that this is readily available. Once made the plans will be kept, for any REA to use in subsequent sales or leases. The REA (or any trader for that matter) has a duty of care when supplying information, and this includes plans.
     
  9. larrylarry

    larrylarry Well-Known Member

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    Keep us posted after you have reported.
     
  10. larrylarry

    larrylarry Well-Known Member

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    how are you supposed to make claim for loss of time? sounds like you just studied ACL inside out. :)
     
  11. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    According to most PI insurers of REA's, there are more and more claims against agents for wrong dimensions whether that be on house/unit plans or land dimensions. REAs are being advised by their insurers to use certain wording in their many disclaimers on published materials.

    The good news for consumers is that as a condition of their licence, REAs must have PI insurance. The bad news is that I see many plans now without dimensions, with consumers left to work it out for themselves so agents avoid any liability.
     
  12. Inov8ive

    Inov8ive Well-Known Member

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    Anything strata titled will need to have a m2 allocation. The breakdown should include the internal area, this is what banks and finance providers go off. The floor plan that agents provide is a guide only which is quite useful but should definitely not be relied on.
     
  13. Depreciator

    Depreciator Moderator Staff Member

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    I always assume dimensions on marketing plans are a bit rubbery. It's really only of any consequence for OTP buyers. It's not unusual for somebody buying off the plan to find that when their apartment is handed over it is significantly smaller than expected. A point buried in the contract about wriggle room on dimensions between marketing plan and finished product gives the developer an 'out' in that scenario.
     
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  14. Westminster

    Westminster Tigress at Tiger Developments Business Member

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    A lot of online plans are either depictive but readable with * asterisks saying they are approximate only or the are photos of real plans and uploaded to websites that are hopeless at enlarging. I would never try scale off these.

    The plans in listings should be treated as information not gospel. They are handy for knowing the layout, windows etc

    Sizes of things like apartments vary greatly depending on how it's measured as mentioned above (internal wall vs external wall) and should be measured onsite if you want a real answer or done from a scaled plan from TEA
     
  15. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    You seem pretty focused on the legal aspects of this issue. Let me just warn you, I very much imagine the response from the appropriate authorities to be underwhelming.

    Hence the 2nd part of my previous advice, "and move on".
     
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  16. Burramys

    Burramys Well-Known Member

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    There will be no claim for loss of time, which I should have more correctly described as wasted time. If the intent was to describe a consumer item in a manner likely to deceive, ACL applies. There will or should be reasonable provision for human error; mistakes happen. But when all or nearly all dimensions and areas are bigger than reality instead of a bell curve around the real figures, it looks suss, and intent will in my view be found proven on balance of probability.

    Guide only, true. Please see above comment.

    I believe there's a thread, either here or on Somersoft, about OTP properties shrinking. Some jurisdictions are considering OTP variations that invariably work in favour of the developer.

    My goal is to have accurate clearly dimensioned plans required on all advertising, with separate areas for internal, porch, LUG and land. Maybe there could be records kept at architects or the like, used again and again as properties are sold or leased. Maybe have the plans at REAs, and these could be freely shared. Maybe as plans are obtained, REAs could as a matter of course send them to other nearby REAs. In due course all the REAs in one locality will have most of the plans, a good backup. I do not know how this could work - just giving ideas how best to serve the vendor, buyer, and, ultimately, the REA.
     
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  17. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking you would be looking at the misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of ACL, so did a quick google search and, according to the accc, there doesn't even have to be intent.

    It is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses. This law applies even if you did not intend to mislead or deceive anyone or no one has suffered any loss or damage as a result of your conduct.

    Advertising and selling guide - Misleading or deceptive conduct

    The question is whether a bodgy plan is likely to mislead or deceive purchasers. I'm not sure. I use a plan as a guide to layout but certainly not room sizes. I always check out the size of place based on a site inspection. But what about an interstate purchaser buying an apartment without being able to inspect? I guess you could ask the REA for accurate plans (if they exist). Then can you rely on those? It's messy.
     
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  18. Burramys

    Burramys Well-Known Member

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    Perthguy, good points. This may well be new legal ground - I have been unable to find anything on austlii. It is messy. The plans I see are a starting point for my measurements. There is no need to mislead to break the law.

    The simplest solution is a mandatory national standard that there be clear accurate plans. There's too many errors, too much uncertainty, and for sales of what for many people will be the single biggest purchase of their life - perhaps 6-10 times the average pay - care is needed. A national standard will benefit all parties.
     
  19. JDM

    JDM Well-Known Member

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    The thought of more red tape in the property industry makes me want to cry.

    The whole notion of buying property in Australia is caveat emptor (buyer beware). I acknowledge a seller should not mislead, however it is the responsibility of the buyer to measure the property if it is of concern. Unless you're talking about an OTP property, who cares if the wall in bedroom two is 3.23m or 3.1m? You've stood in the bedroom so don't buy the property if you're not happy with it.

    If that same wall was noted on plans as 2.5m instead of 3.23m then I do agree that is annoying as you might not have wasted your time inspecting the property but I don't think it's a call for national reform. How about we focus on a national property law system and national real estate licensing first if we are looking at national reform?
     
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  20. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    I have been involved with property for a long time and bought and sold many, houses and units, I never really had any interest in any more than a sketch of a floor plan, land dimensions/plans are another story.

    But let's say that somehow this was in place, my next buy would be exactly the same, I use any drawing as a guide/indicator, until it is physically inspected, where I can measure if I like, it is not that important, why is it so important you feel to others ? barring OTP units, which we all know they can play games with.
     
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