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False Advertising by real estate agents

By aa 23 September 2008 46

I recently purchased an apartment off the plans. According to the real-estate agent, I was getting a 3 bedroom apartment that’s 138m2.

I moved in a few weeks ago and was a bit suspicious about the size of the place, so I measured it up and it was roughly 128m2 and not 138. I got an architect in to measure it, and I was right.

Now the plans I purchased it off stated it was 138m, and I measured every room and the measurements were off by 20cm in each room. After speaking to my lawyer, he stated they can be 10% off and I can’t do a thing about it. I sat back and calculated that if every apartment in was 20cm off in each room, they managed to slip in an extra 6 apartments into my complex.

I also calculated that the apartment cost me $400,000, so that’s roughly $2,898.55/metre at 138, considering I only got 128m, I should only pay $371,014.49.

Does anyone know of anything I can do about thing? It’s $30,000. Shouldn’t the real-estate agent be done for false advertising? I know if woolie were selling there stuff 10% lighter than they state, they’d be in all sorts of trouble!!!!


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False Advertising by real estate agents
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Oh, and my experience with units (and I currently own several) is that balconies and car spaces do not get included in the total living area calculation.

I like notdingers theory the best. Having internal walls 20cm thick means you lose a square metre of living space for every 5 metres of wall. Having 50 metres of internal wall in a large unit seems pretty reasonable to me.

Either way, you get to quote 138sqm when selling or refinancing the property, so if you like your home, then who really cares?

Aurelius 11:27 am 26 Sep 08

Milk prices are outrageous, eh?

Roma 10:40 am 26 Sep 08

Some of you guys are tards. I am a large developer – the system regarding UTP strata units is simple: Whatever the contract refers to as the TFA is the required TFA. No ‘10% allowances for variation’. Stick to whinging about the price of milk/poor customer service in an average restaurant.

A large developer with a small……..?

Look, you are clearly have anger management issues if you feel that its appropriate to tell people to a) keep their “uninformed opinions” to themselves, and b) “Stick to whinging about the price of milk/poor customer service” when they were merely offering harmless suggestions that were INVITED AND ENCOURAGED BY THE ORIGINAL POSTER.
You may have property development experience, but you clearly have ZERO people skills. Yikes!

johnboy 11:19 am 25 Sep 08

And Tyler makes his way into moderation.

Aurelius 10:55 am 25 Sep 08

Tylers, as subtle as always 🙂

p1 9:28 am 25 Sep 08

I have no personal direct experience with purchasing a house, but everything that I have ever heard about the process (especially as it relates to new structures) makes me think any body who considers them selves to be a property developer, is probably a crook. 🙂

I have however had lots of experience with real estate agents, and while some are great people, many are either complete f&%kwits, or just have no interpersonal skills at all.

djk 8:51 am 25 Sep 08

Graham, I believe the OP is referring to an off-the-plan unit, in which case there is no registered UP (or UTP as you call it). The contract would generally have a draft UP in it along with the building plans, etc, but that is subject to change on registration.

The contract will almost always contain a clause regarding variations, although tbh 5% allowance for variations is the norm.

Mr Evil 6:03 pm 24 Sep 08

Sorry Roma et al: I am an experienced developer so best you keep your uninformed opinions to yourself.

Obviously you are still working on developing a personality?

notdingers 5:44 pm 24 Sep 08

This might be stupid question. But maybe the initial floor plan and the promised floor space didn’t include the floor space taken up by walls. The thickness of a non-weight bearing internal wall would be something like 20cm.

So as an empty shell the space is 138m2 but after the addition if the internal walls and structures it equals only approximately 128m2.

I am not a builder so i don’t know, do things like cupboards and closets count as floor space?

Jazz 2:20 pm 24 Sep 08

Damo said :

And yes, contractually normally the apartment floor space can vary by up to 10% without any penalty

I think the safe money would be betting that it doesnt vary upwards by 10% very often

tylersmayhem 1:51 pm 24 Sep 08

This really sucks, and I’d be ballistic! Mind you I’d never but a new property – but I realise this doesn’t help you with your dilemma.

To the OP: I have recently bought a property (not a new one as regular readers would know from my continual gripes about new properties), and we had a brilliant solicitor who specialises in the area of property law. He was amazing, and I challenge someone to find anyone better. The advice you’d get from him would be down to earth and your final answer. I suspect his first question will be “what’s it say in the contract”.

I’m not going to post his details on here, and I don’t want to go soliciting (pun intended) the company without permission – but email the Overlords and I’m happy to get the details to you via them.

For now, I;d also check that cracks are not appearing in the exterior walls as well!
(http://the-riotact.com/?p=8073#comment-136431)

Damo 1:41 pm 24 Sep 08

maculicauda said :

Sometimes they include parking spaces in the total living space…

never ever saw that in my 3 years working the job.

All measurements are taken from the centreline of the common walls, so that will take into account some of your “lost” space.

And yes, contractually normally the apartment floor space can vary by up to 10% without any penalty

And as for the agent “false advertising”? cmon! …. As an agent youa re given the plans and specification from the developer, under good faith, you cant expect an agent to go and measure up the sizes in a construction site. ffs!

Roma 1:03 pm 24 Sep 08

Sorry Roma et al: I am an experienced developer so best you keep your uninformed opinions to yourself.

The contract for sale will refer to the UTP size which will have been certified then approved by ACTPLA. Any variance is unacceptable and a civil claim, initially with all parties to the construction listed is the best way to start. See a better lawyer.

LOL. My uninformed opinion? I wasnt stating anything as ‘fact’ except that my maths could have been wrong. Im pretty sure I said that the variance ‘could well be’ accounted for by wall cavities/car spaces etc. Im no expert, but hey! Guess what? I never claimed to be! I cant begin to fathom that someone would take any comments on a forum as gospel and make significant legal and financial decisions on the basis of those comments. So, if you dont mind, I will comment whenever I feel like it, thank you very much.

Have a BRILLIANT day!

Thumper 12:00 pm 24 Sep 08

approved by ACTPLA

The same ACTPLA who can’t tell the difference between four storeys or five storeys?

Say no more.

Roma 10:38 am 24 Sep 08

My maths may be completely wrong but we arent even talking about a full 10% variance here. We are talking about 7% variance, which could well be accounted for by the wall cavities and any parking spaces. To suggest that ‘aa’ sue is obscene.

saraj 9:34 am 24 Sep 08

I tend to agree with maculicauda, the unit size would include parking space(s). Go and measure those and you’ll probably find added to the size of your unit, a total of 138m2.

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:32 am 24 Sep 08

Sue. Seek $50K in damages, settle for $30K. You have a reasonable expectation that a 10% variance (if it’s in the contract) would be an exception rather than a rule for every measurement in the apartment. Have you confirmed that others in the complex have the same problem? Threaten to mount a class action (assuming you can find six other people who have a grudge against the same agent).

peterh 9:09 am 24 Sep 08

I have to say, the house I live in has a bathroom, a kitchen / dining room, a toilet, a laundry, 3 bedrooms and a living room. Buggered if I know what the size of it is, we bought because we liked the house and the location. (although in hindsight, we should have bought one with at least 4 bedrooms, so the study isn’t in the dining room or when the boys are older, they aren’t crammed into the same room)

Jazz 7:16 am 24 Sep 08

Good point JC, also check whether the measurements included the overall room size in rooms like a kitchen where cabinetry etc will eat into your ‘real’ space.

I think you will find that the real estate agent was also going off the stated dimensions in the plan. At some point a surveyor signed off on the 138m2 plans as built to get a certificate of occupancy which is where the real culpability lies. If there was any false advertising I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it was done in ignorance on that basis. I’m not excusing it but you should have had your laywer check before signing anything.

Perhaps more importantly, would you have bought the place anyway? I dont think i’ve ever met anyone where the principle decision making point was the cost per m2 over other factors such as location, quality of fitout, amenity, aspect, or something else first. My place is supposedly 122m2 but in reality i couldn’t care. I saw what I was getting, and still bought it.

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