Monday, 18 January 2010 00:00
Why you should inspect the whole building and know about the Sinking Fund.
When cracks started to appear in the ground floor apartment residents on the second and third floor were not worried until the letter from the Owner's Corporation arrived saying every apartment owner would be levied $10,000 to repair the structural damage.
Angus Kell, ACT & NSW State Manager of Archicentre said with the apartment boom and the trend to buy 'off the plan' and many older apartments coming up for sale, it is important for people not only to check the quality of the property for sale, but also to be aware of the condition of the overall building which could impact severely on their financial situation.
Mr Kell said in one recent case Archicentre saw the substantial re-building of a ground floor. In other cases we have seen a lack of fire separation in the roof space between apartments, allowing a fire in one area to spread quickly across a number of apartments.
Archicentre, well known for its pre-purchase housing inspections, is also carrying out an increasing number of inspections on apartments for buyers who recognise that once they sign on the dotted line they not only assume responsibility for their own apartment but also for common areas of the building.
"For this reason we suggest people do a thorough check of the Sinking Fund and the Maintenance Plan for the property.
"It is not unreasonable to think that some owners might put their apartment on the market if they suspect they might be facing a future repair bill."
said people considering purchasing older flats and apartments
investment or to live in should be aware that many of the same
found in older homes, such as rising damp, electrical faults,
poor water pressure, termites and borers, can also be present in
Archicentre pre-purchase housing statistics show one in every three homes for sale have at least one major fault. Faults are easier to repair in a stand alone home than in a block of flats or an apartment building which may require repairs on a number of individually owned properties. Thus having the property professionally inspected is an important investment risk strategy.
Common faults detected in apartments and flats during Archicentre inspections include:
- Lack of insulation and noise barriers from neighbouring apartments allowing noise such as flushing toilets or people walking on timber floors in apartments above, rattling pipes, noisy air conditioners and the ability to hear discussions and personal bedroom affairs of neighbours.
- Poor ventilation in laundries and bathrooms resulting in dampness, poor air quality and mildew.
- Drainage problems from the main roof area which can impact on apartments on any level requiring re-plastering, painting and plumbing which can be highly expensive in an apartment structure.
- Structural damage due to subsidence or deterioration.
Mr Kell said it is important prospective buyers, especially those of older units and apartments, looked beyond the new paint and carpet before buying, as older buildings may be suffering from the lack of an appropriate maintenance schedule leaving current and future owners with hefty repair bills.
"With the government policy to consolidate population densities within existing suburbs, apartment living and investment will increase dramatically bringing a whole new range of financial and legal responsibilities to apartment buyers."
Archicentre suggests people interested in purchasing an apartment should:
- Visit the apartment complex during the day at the busiest time and at night when everyone is home to gauge the living environment, noise level and parking for apartment dwellers and visitors.
- Request a copy of the maintenance work carried out and any proposed in the future.
- View the documentation regarding the Owner's Corporation fees and responsibilities.
- Have your apartment professionally assessed.
The building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects
Angus Kell, ACT & NSW State Manager Archicentre (02) 9411 1000 Mobile: 0412 565 023
Ron Smith Corporate Media Communications Archicentre (03) 9818 5700 Mobile: 0417 329 201