aaa vic guide
The Australian Apartment Advocacy’s Sam Reece hopes the guide becomes part of the apartment buying process. Image supplied.
  • Over half of Victorians surveyed say they live in an apartment with defects
  • The Australian Apartment Advocacy says the kit will boost consumer confidence
  • 16,000 apartments are to be delivered across the state within the next four years

The Australian Apartment Advocacy (AAA) has launched a new buyers guide to facilitate the apartment buying process.

The guide comes as the Apartment Living Report revealed earlier this year that more than half of Victorians surveyed (54%) are living in apartments with defects.

Sam Reece, CEO of the AAA, said the report’s damning findings reflect the lack of clear access to information buyers have when purchasing an apartment.

“77% of Victorian respondents said they wish they’d had more education to help them during the apartment buying phase and pre-settlement process,” she said.

In light of this, Ms Reece has announced the AAA’s new Victorian Apartment Buyer and Owner Education Kit, which is effectively an A-to-Z buyer’s guide on what to look for when purchasing or living in an apartment.

“16,000 apartments are expected to be delivered into the Victorian market in the next four years. Consumers now have .. [a] guide on whether they are purchasing a dud or not,” said Ms Reece.

Call for more building inspections

She noted that part of the problem for buyers is that many defects are impossible or difficult to detect, and the consequences of a defect may not be known for some time, which could potentially impact professional indemnity insurance claims.

60% of apartment owners from the report also said they support having an independent body inspect their apartment complex annually and advise residents of building issues.

80% would want a building inspection before purchasing to verify the building’s quality.

“For too long, governments have fostered a wild west building culture where too many new apartments are being built with defects,” added Ms Reece.

“Thousands of lives have been wrecked by lax building regulations, rogue developers and a lack of consumer information around apartment buying and living.”

Sam Reece, Australian Apartment Advocacy CEO

In July, a prohibition order was lifted on the Skyview project after Toplace agreed to an ongoing maintenance program backed by a financial guarantee.

The Strata Community Association (SCA) has also called for greater transparency to deal with building defects.

The kit will allow owners to identify defects more easily while building consumer confidence.

“Defects aren’t maintenance or repair issues; they are faults created during the build.”

“No one can imagine what it is like, unless you have lived the horror of the bad builder experience and the legacy they leave behind – I hope this kit will arm buyers with all the information they need to make a safe purchase.”

Ms Reece, who is known for campaigning against “developers behaving badly” hopes the Victorian government endorses the kit and makes it a compulsory component of the apartment buying process.

“Our research shows if a buyer has defects in an apartment, their chance of buying another apartment drops 30% and with only 14% of people saying they’d buy off the plan in the first place, consumer confidence is at crisis levels.”

“Unlike buying a home, when there is a defect in an apartment it can have huge financial ramifications for the entire block and it involves a number of parties including the certifier, developer, builder, strata manager, body corporate and the owners themselves to work proactively,” she concluded.

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