This is the premise on which all property sales in Queensland are based.  It is up to the buyer to thoroughly investigate the property themselves rather than rely on information provided by the seller.

Buying a property is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime, which is why it is important to investigate the property in question as thoroughly as possible.

Many properties include improvements which were built after the original building was constructed, such as carports, pools, sheds, decks or other renovations.  If these structures, or the original house itself, have not been approved by the local council then you as the buyer become liable for the costs of any rectification works required to make the structures compliant with council regulations.

Such liability may include the cost of engaging  a certifier, obtaining council approval, and conducting various renovation works.  In some cases it will not be possible to make the structures compliant, and they will have to be demolished.

In the worst case scenario the entire dwelling (or additions to the dwelling) cannot be legally occupied.  As a purchaser, this is an extremely costly mistake.

Building Records Search

It is recommended that when purchasing a property you undertake an ‘inspection of building records search’ with Council for any structure or improvement built on a property after 1986.  This search will confirm whether the relevant structure/s have received a final inspection certificate from the local authority and therefore are compliant with council regulations.

There may also be consequences for your insurance cover if the house and other improvements are not approved by the local Council.  Some events or incidents which result in damage to your dwelling or other improvements on the property, or injury to guests or occupiers at the property, will not be covered by your insurer if the improvement is unapproved or does not comply with the relevant building codes.

QBCC Insurance Search

Additionally, a purchaser should consider undertaking a Queensland Building Services Authority search for any dwellings or improvements built on a property within the last six years.   This search will confirm whether the structures were built by a registered builder, which ultimately affects your ability to access insurance cover for any construction faults.

Prior to Signing the Contract

Unfortunately, the standard contracts generally in use in Queensland do not grant a clear right of termination to the buyer where it is discovered that a dwelling or improvement is ‘non-compliant’.  If you are considering purchasing a property, please contact our office to discuss your options and the special conditions which should be inserted in a contract prior to signing same.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

Rebecca Rutland & Annie Hayes
Business & Property