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- Key findings: property defects
- Leaks and cracks causing stress for buyers
- Pain point: apartments not built to plan
- Price of property pain
- Industry research
- State of play
- What the regulators and industry say
- Worries and warranties: what you’re entitled to
- Financing flawed buildings: what defects mean for getting a mortgage
- Building defects tips and traps
New homeowners have been slugged a staggering $10.5 billion in repair costs over the past decade as poor construction standards have left them battling leaks, cracks and other problems.
Financial comparison site Mozo’s Property Pain – Building Defects Report 2019 also found most new and newly renovated apartment and house owners have been plagued by defects that have cost them $6,434 and $5,839 respectively.
To deal with the issues 60% of apartment owners facing defects had to contribute to a sinking fund and 24% were forced to pay special levies to fund the repairs.
The findings come as regulators continue to grapple with fall out over the serious safety issues plaguing apartments in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“While buying a bright and shiny new property might seem like a good idea, the reality for many Australians is one of costly repairs and years of remediation,” says Mozo Property Expert Steve Jovcevski.
Key findings: property defects
Mozo’s survey found most apartment and house owners who purchased a new property in the past 10 years have experienced building defects.
“Australia is in the middle of the perfect storm when it comes to building defects.
A construction boom that saw some developers and builders cut corners to meet demand coupled with the weakening of regulatory oversight has seen defects rain down on homeowners,” Jovcevski says.
To deal with the issues, Mozo found 58% of apartment owners facing defects had to contribute to a sinking fund and 25% were forced to pay special levies to fund the repairs.
Most apartment repairs (57%) were completed in under 3 months but 21% of buyers had to wait up to 6 months and 9% are still waiting for the defects to be fixed.
Leaks and cracks causing stress for buyers
When it comes to apartments, internal water leaks (48%) and cracking to internal and external walls (39%) were the most common defects.
Water penetration from outside (30%), tiling problems (27%), defective plumbing (21%), guttering faults (19%), inappropriately installed materials (19%) were also frequently reported.
For houses, cracking to internal and external structures (42%) and guttering faults (33%) were the biggest issues.
Defective plumbing (28%), internal water leaks (25%), tiling problems (25%) and water penetration from outside (24%) were also major problems.
“Whether you are buying a new apartment or a new house you should budget for repairs for the most common defects that plague properties. Don’t assume you’ll escape these problems, because you won’t,” Jovcevski says.
Pain point: apartments not built to plan
If you think you’ll be getting what you paid for when buying off the plan, you might want to think again.
20% of people found their apartment was a different size to the plan and 8% were left dealing with the builder changing the finishes during construction.
“When you’re buying off the plan it’s vital to engage with the project and check your apartment is being built to specification at every stage of construction,” says Jovcevski.
“It’s also important not to take the developer’s word around compliance at critical stages of a development. Incredibly, in NSW a developer can select and pay for their own certifiers to verify they have met minimum safety requirements.
“The good news is if your apartment is not built to the specification you signed up for you can start negotiating. From reducing the price of your apartment and getting a full refund, if your property isn’t to plan, you should be compensated.
“That said, it’s also worth remembering that while getting a refund might sound ok, you’ve been delayed from entering the property market. If you are buying in a rising market the refund you receive won’t take into account the increase in property prices and you could be left having to find additional funds to buy a similar property,” Jovcevski says.
Price of property pain
Mozo estimates repairing building defects has cost Australians a staggering total of $10.5 billion over the past decade.
Their research found, when it comes to apartments 4% of new owners had to pay above $50,000 to have repairs done, 23% paid $5,000 to $50,000 and 74% paid up to $5,000.
For house purchasers Mozo’s survey showed 5% had to pay more than $20,000 for repairs, 68% paid up to $5,000 and 27% had to pay $5,000 to $20,000.
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