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Height of balcony wall

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Anna K, 6th May, 2016.

  1. Anna K

    Anna K New Member

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    My elderly parents have decided to downsize and have sold their property. They purchased an off the plan apartment from the real estate agency. It's been over a year since they sold their house and purchased the apartment - from the same real estate agent.
    Today was the first day that they were allowed to view their apartment and to their horror, their first floor apartment has a 1.75 metre wall over the balcony - council specifications they were told by the RE agent. They have no view from the windows, nor do they have a view from their balcony - they can only look up and see the sky.
    They are shattered to say the least as they would have never purchased the apartment if they were made aware of this.
    Are they able to challenge this? Is there anything that can be done? Their English is minimal and they did not seek advice prior to purchasing this off the plan apartment.
    The apartment is in Doncaster East and the local council is Manningham.

    Thanks
    Anna
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    What was provided to them regarding the schedule of finishes? Was it changed after they purchased? Were they informed? Was it a DA condition for privacy of the neighbours?

    Solution: Build up your balcony - just don't cover the drains.
     
  3. Skilled_Migrant

    Skilled_Migrant Well-Known Member

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    1.75 appears to be due to overlooking criteria. Does the balcony have any views into the neighbors windows or the backyard. If yes, even the council might not be able to do anything as the victorian Rescode overrides the council and will not allow a variation.

    As suggested by @Scott No Mates go through the endorsed plans as well as the planning permit conditions, if you want to get out of the contract. You can also approach the council (free) to understand what has happened or ask a Town planner to look into it. Should be a 100-200 dollars.
     
  4. Anna K

    Anna K New Member

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    Thanks for the responses. The balcony overlooks the garden next door. It is only my parent's apartment and the one next door to theirs that have been affected.
    There was nothing in the schedule of finishes nor were they informed of the height of the balcony until they physically saw it today. It may have been a DA condition but I cannot locate this.
    I can't seem to find anything in the planning permit conditions or the endorsed plans. The only thing that I found was that the divider between balconies was 1.7. Even the letter from VCAT on the endorsed plans did not contain anything about the balconies.
     
  5. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    Were there no elevations on the plans?
     
  6. Skilled_Migrant

    Skilled_Migrant Well-Known Member

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    Difficult to help you without the documents. Call the council on monday and ask them for a copy of DA as well as assistance in understanding the drawings. Even if the drawings are not dimensioned, the drawings are to scale and the balcony heights can be measured from the drawings. Town planner, architect, draftsperson will definitely be able to help you.

    It is also not unusual for the council to pick up the DA faults during construction and ask the builder to change drawings as well as the build. This is a possibility, which you might have to explore (trace the original to the current elevation 'facing neighbor's yard' drawing using either the drawing nos or the date) because if this is what has happened, the buyer should not bear the cost of change. You might be able to rely on the marketing material.

    Good luck

    Edit: If the council appears to be reluctant, it might be their fault. You might have to file a FOI request to get the drawings.
     
    Last edited: 6th May, 2016
  7. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Or it could be on the council website.
     
  8. melbournian

    melbournian Well-Known Member

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    You need to get the comms, emails etc and all the plans and finishes when you initially purchase the OTP. If the representation was incorrect, you can actually sue the agent or developer for wrong misrepresentation. I know of a person who did this and that was the colour scheme was not the same as how it was in the brochures and paperwork when selecting the finishes. Townhouse in richmond i believe. Same as when you buy anything, say it house i purchase was advertised as 700sqm (approximate) but it was measured by a land surveyor (prior to settlement) it was 625sqm, i can rescind the contract even if it is an unconditional sale and the representation was incorrect. I have the lawyers details so PM if you wish for this.