News

Evicted from your own ‘Home’

Rob Bradley

The plight of a Richmond couple reported by the Herald Sun on Sunday May 12 (Council bans couple from living in $1.85m converted Richmond warehouse) highlights the extreme risks that purchasers take if they try to cut corners when buying property. Buying and selling property are not just routine form-filling exercises – things can, and sometimes do – go very wrong.

The couple apparently paid $1,850,000 for a converted warehouse that was located in a ‘Business 3’ zone under the Yarra Planning Scheme. Property located in that zone cannot be used for accommodation purposes.

As a consequence

  • they have had to move out;
  • they have been without the ‘home’ for over a year already;
  • the property is almost certainly worth much less (as a warehouse rather than a home);
  • they are now suffering the added delays and costs of legal action in the Supreme Court, trying to recover (from the vendor, the selling agent and their conveyancer) the loss they have suffered.

Checking the planning controls is a vital step in the purchase process. Understanding how the Planning Scheme ‘works’ is then necessary to gauge the practical effects of the controls.

(In the words of Simon Baker) I’m guessing that at least one couple now wishes they had retained a lawyer who understood planning controls and did the checking for them.