You’ve found the home of your dreams, and you’re ready to submit an Offer. Or, you’re considering the benefits of home extensions or renovations to make your current space better suited to your needs. Either way, illegal building can eventually come back to haunt you.
What is Illegal Building? Renovation and construction projects which alter an existing structure require the installation of new plumbing or new wiring are just a few of the projects which may require council approval and the attention of a properly licensed service provider. All too often, homeowners choose to circumvent existing legal requirements in favor of working with tradespeople who do not hold the appropriate licenses and skipping council approval. While this can be cheaper and more efficient in the short term, it can have far-reaching implications which negate those short-term benefits in the long run.
While a substantial number of homes across Australia do show evidence of illegal building in one form or another, many homeowners don’t have a clear understanding of the dangers, not to mention potential liability, stemming from unregulated construction. This is especially true for new homeowners who unknowingly inherit illegally built structures when they purchase a home which has undergone renovations or extension prior to them assuming ownership.
How Illegal Building Presents Potential Liability for Homeowners Even if illegal building took place long before you assumed ownership of your new home, you can be held financially responsible for rectifying errors, or even pulling down illegally-built extensions in some cases. Should a visitor or tradesperson become injured as a result of such building, you may also be held liable for those injuries and damages.
When construction projects are undertaken without concern regarding proper regulations and legal requirements, it’s easy for the lack of oversight to create the potential for serious damages. Improperly built balconies and decking can be prone to collapse, a problem which is surprisingly common throughout the country. Poor wiring creates a very real fire hazard, and presents an electrocution risk. Should the unthinkable occur on your property, and an investigation takes place which uncovers evidence of illegal building, the former owner who commissioned such work will not be held liable. As the current homeowner, these damages could ultimately be your responsibility.
Avoiding Illegal Building Liability If you’re considering an extension or renovation to your own home speak with your council or a local architect who knows what the current regulations are. In addition you can avoid stress by simply working with reputable and professional tradespeople, and investing in stage construction inspections for additional oversight.
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