15/12/2020 - 12:00

Dodgy developers beware

15/12/2020 - 12:00

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The Australian Apartment Advocacy hopes its new education kit can better inform buyers and owners but also hold developers accountable for poor-quality apartments.

Sam Reece says the new apartment kit assists in better understanding the purchasing process, as well as identifying potential building defects.

The Australian Apartment Advocacy hopes its new education kit can inform buyers and owners but also hold developers accountable for poor-quality apartments.

The not-for-profit organisation is headed by Sam Reece, who said the kit was prompted by a lack of resources available to prospective apartment buyers, as well as a number of projects making headlines for defects.

That included the 34-storey Opal Towers in Sydney, with residents forced to evacuate on Christmas Eve in 2018 after cracks started emerging.

More recently, in June 2020 residents of Sydney’s Mascot Towers were evacuated after cracks emerged in the building’s primary support structure.

“There needs to be a lot more transparency,” Ms Reece told Business News.

“Apartment buyers have no way of knowing whether they are buying from a gold star company or dodgy brothers.

 “When you buy a Mercedes, you know that you’re buying a Mercedes, when you buy a Toyota, you know you’re buying a Toyota, but when you go to buy an apartment, how do you know if you’re getting a Mercedes or a Toyota?

“You don’t.

“This education kit, it will help you work out whether you’re buying a Mercedes or a Toyota.”

The free to access Apartment Buyer and Owner Education Kit is available on the Australian Apartment Advocacy website.

The kit helps buyers to identify building defects, as well as understand the purchasing process, providing information covering purchasing off-the-plan apartments, sales contracts, a pre-settlement checklist, insurance considerations, common apartment defects, strata fees, complaints and resolution.

Ms Reece said the kit was prepared with the support of a working committee made up of accredited builders, surveyors, structural engineers, insurers and lawyers.

“Be warned, when apartment buyers are coming to view an apartment, this kit arms them with all the information they need to fully understand the inspection and buying process and empower them to make an educated decision,” she said.

“If you ask these questions and tick it off then you can feel a level of satisfaction… that you’ve done your due diligence.

“Our data shows that 60 per cent of people are unsure about moving into an apartment and only 14 per cent would buy off the plan.

“We need, as an industry, to call out when we don’t see quality; there’s no use turning a blind eye.

“Our data shows that if people have had an apartment defect, only 30 per cent will be likely to buy an apartment again and that is where the crisis is, because at the end of the day we want this to be a viable housing choice.”

Celsius Property group managing director Richard Pappas said as both a developer and sales agent, the business strongly believed in educating Perth’s emerging apartment market, and supported the education kit.

“The apartment market is relatively immature in Perth however young professionals and downsizers are entering the apartment market in droves,” Mr Pappas said.

“Providing good quality factual information upfront will assist them make better informed decisions and therefore hopefully cause less headaches later.”

Over the next four years, Ms Reece said 80,000 apartments were expected to be delivered nationally and hopes the kit can be supported by more state governments.

“These buyers must have confidence that their apartment will last the legacy and it will retain its value and be a safe home and the kit is the first step in helping buyers make the right choices,” she said.

“Those companies that walk the walk and talk the talk, they are behind me 100 per cent. It’s the ones who don’t have the systems right and who have got issues… they’re the ones feeling slightly nervous.

“I’m not here to create fans; I’m here to create change.

“We have a legal and an ethical responsibility to deliver those apartments to the best of our ability – and to the best quality, so that people don’t have an Opal Towers experience.

“If you’re a developer and you’re seeing something dodgy, or if you’re a builder or a subbie and you’re seeing something dodgy, you have just as much responsibility to call it out as I do."

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