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Our house is being held for ransom by a dodgy building company….

By bec452 26 March 2014 33

My partner and I are first home buyers and have purchased a house and land package in Gungahlin. We were taken in by a slick sales pitch, by a well known real estate agency, which included a computer rendered image of the completed home on allhomes.com.au. The listing and subsequent marketing all included an impressive inclusions list and continually touted “Fixed price contract”, “complete front landscaping”, “nothing else to do”…..etc. The home is now complete (minus the front landscaping as the building company deliberately took it out of the contract), we have the Certificate of Occupancy and we have paid the final installment only to be given an invoice for additional kitchen joinery! They are now refusing to give us our keys until this new cost is paid. They also refuse to give us an itemised invoice for the additional cost so we don’t even know what the additional cost was for.

Has anyone had this happen to them before whilst building in Canberra?


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33 Responses to
Our house is being held for ransom by a dodgy building company….
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canberralad73 7:12 pm 27 Jun 15

Any update on this? How do Canberra builders get away with this rubbish?

NoImRight 9:47 am 17 Apr 14

So any updates? What happened? Lots of contributions would be nice to acknowledge the results.

jonnie_boy 12:35 pm 07 Apr 14

Hi Bec,

Good advice on speaking to your Solictor (if you engaged one for settlement) your contract SHOULD state exactly what you are getting in your new home, landscaping, kitchen etc…. what you WILL receive as part of your build…if you have only used a conveyencer then you will need to take the builder to court yourself….but you still should have a contract that you signed outlining what you are purchasing.

NoImRight 7:54 am 07 Apr 14

dungfungus said :

NoImRight said :

p1 said :

NoImRight said :

The name on the CT tells you who owns the house.

Ahhh, obviously. Wait, what is a CT? You call me out as being ill-informed on the subject (which I certainly am), yet do a very poor job of communicating the only potential new bit of information in your post.

NoImRight said :

Given the ignorance in your comments your last statement is just puerile. Was it meant to sound smart or tough? Or both? Just playing to the crowd? “Yeah! Take that Establishment!”

Tough. Yes, with that comment I was trying to portray myself as the kind of tough guy who… wait, what again? ‘…banks are scum’ was obviously not supposed to be deeply philosophical treatise on the plight of the individual in a world of multinational corporation or on the ethics of global wealth distribution. Safe to say thought that I do not particularly like, nor value banks.

Fair point. Im usually in a rush typing so perhaps didnt think through my “advice” 😉

The CT is the Certificate of Title. As the name suggests its the actual Land Titles document that says who owns the land. For most of us a Bank will have a mortage registered “on the title” so will actually be holding thisdocument. At a settlement (buying/selling a property) the seller hands over the title and a discharge of any mortgages on the title. The buyer then takes it and some other stuff to Land Titles and registers their ownership. More to it than that just trying not to write an essay.

So the question is, as I said before, has the OP setteld or not? If yes then they do own the place. If not the Cert of Occupancy is irrelevant. If I was a locksmith and someone called me out to change every lock in their house and didnt have any keys Id be well ……curious. So Id exercise caution before going down that path.

With respect, you can’t own land in the ACT.
You can own a lease and a lender will usually accept that lease as security for a mortgage loan.

No thats true but its not relevant and doesnt actually make any difference as far as the reality of land transactions in the ACT and in particular this case.

dungfungus 7:41 pm 05 Apr 14

NoImRight said :

p1 said :

NoImRight said :

The name on the CT tells you who owns the house.

Ahhh, obviously. Wait, what is a CT? You call me out as being ill-informed on the subject (which I certainly am), yet do a very poor job of communicating the only potential new bit of information in your post.

NoImRight said :

Given the ignorance in your comments your last statement is just puerile. Was it meant to sound smart or tough? Or both? Just playing to the crowd? “Yeah! Take that Establishment!”

Tough. Yes, with that comment I was trying to portray myself as the kind of tough guy who… wait, what again? ‘…banks are scum’ was obviously not supposed to be deeply philosophical treatise on the plight of the individual in a world of multinational corporation or on the ethics of global wealth distribution. Safe to say thought that I do not particularly like, nor value banks.

Fair point. Im usually in a rush typing so perhaps didnt think through my “advice” 😉

The CT is the Certificate of Title. As the name suggests its the actual Land Titles document that says who owns the land. For most of us a Bank will have a mortage registered “on the title” so will actually be holding thisdocument. At a settlement (buying/selling a property) the seller hands over the title and a discharge of any mortgages on the title. The buyer then takes it and some other stuff to Land Titles and registers their ownership. More to it than that just trying not to write an essay.

So the question is, as I said before, has the OP setteld or not? If yes then they do own the place. If not the Cert of Occupancy is irrelevant. If I was a locksmith and someone called me out to change every lock in their house and didnt have any keys Id be well ……curious. So Id exercise caution before going down that path.

With respect, you can’t own land in the ACT.
You can own a lease and a lender will usually accept that lease as security for a mortgage loan.

NoImRight 3:42 pm 04 Apr 14

p1 said :

NoImRight said :

The name on the CT tells you who owns the house.

Ahhh, obviously. Wait, what is a CT? You call me out as being ill-informed on the subject (which I certainly am), yet do a very poor job of communicating the only potential new bit of information in your post.

NoImRight said :

Given the ignorance in your comments your last statement is just puerile. Was it meant to sound smart or tough? Or both? Just playing to the crowd? “Yeah! Take that Establishment!”

Tough. Yes, with that comment I was trying to portray myself as the kind of tough guy who… wait, what again? ‘…banks are scum’ was obviously not supposed to be deeply philosophical treatise on the plight of the individual in a world of multinational corporation or on the ethics of global wealth distribution. Safe to say thought that I do not particularly like, nor value banks.

Fair point. Im usually in a rush typing so perhaps didnt think through my “advice” 😉

The CT is the Certificate of Title. As the name suggests its the actual Land Titles document that says who owns the land. For most of us a Bank will have a mortage registered “on the title” so will actually be holding thisdocument. At a settlement (buying/selling a property) the seller hands over the title and a discharge of any mortgages on the title. The buyer then takes it and some other stuff to Land Titles and registers their ownership. More to it than that just trying not to write an essay.

So the question is, as I said before, has the OP setteld or not? If yes then they do own the place. If not the Cert of Occupancy is irrelevant. If I was a locksmith and someone called me out to change every lock in their house and didnt have any keys Id be well ……curious. So Id exercise caution before going down that path.

p1 2:28 pm 03 Apr 14

NoImRight said :

The name on the CT tells you who owns the house.

Ahhh, obviously. Wait, what is a CT? You call me out as being ill-informed on the subject (which I certainly am), yet do a very poor job of communicating the only potential new bit of information in your post.

NoImRight said :

Given the ignorance in your comments your last statement is just puerile. Was it meant to sound smart or tough? Or both? Just playing to the crowd? “Yeah! Take that Establishment!”

Tough. Yes, with that comment I was trying to portray myself as the kind of tough guy who… wait, what again? ‘…banks are scum’ was obviously not supposed to be deeply philosophical treatise on the plight of the individual in a world of multinational corporation or on the ethics of global wealth distribution. Safe to say thought that I do not particularly like, nor value banks.

NoImRight 12:29 pm 03 Apr 14

p1 said :

IrishPete said :

(Deed? if you don’t, maybe your lender has it?)

Bank might be interested in what is going on, since (unless you paid cash for the place) they probably technically own it… or should, except the builder is withholding handover.

Probably not though, since banks are scum.

Managed to be wrong in every sentence. Nice job of helping.”Technically” the Bank doesnt own the house. Probably never will. The name on the CT tells you who owns the house. So the question is whether there has been a settlemet or not. Sounds like there probably has. In which case the OP is the owner. As others have stated a Certificate of Occupancy also has nothing to do with ownership. If it hasnt settled OP needs to get their solicitor working.

Given the ignorance in your comments your last statement is just puerile. Was it meant to sound smart or tough? Or both? Just playing to the crowd? “Yeah! Take that Establishment!”

rosscoact 3:58 pm 02 Apr 14

cranky said :

rosscoact said :

cranky said :

rosscoact said :

Are they with the MBA or HIA? If so, write to them and complain with attached contracts.

Forget this option. These industry groups may as well be the godfathers of dodgy builders. They have no interest in supporting anyone but their members.

With all due respect you have no idea what you’re talking about.

MBA and perhaps to a lesser extent HIA take their name seriously. I know because I used MBA very successfully in a building matter. They pursued the builder, mediated and resolved the matter.

Sometimes you need to take a quiet moment and think about things

Play the man, not the ball much.

Do you think I would comment as I did without very valuable personal experience?

The HIA could not give a hoot about my complaint. They apparently ‘spoke’ to the builder, but the end result was ‘your on your own’. And believe me, my complaint was not insignificant. Non compliance with contract, very poor subbies, and a massive bill for over-runs at completion. How about $800 to install a power point in the fuse box.

No faith in these organisations at all.

You’re right, I apologise for being patronising. It’s pretty poor behaviour and I apologise unreservedly. That’s a shame about HIA not being worth the name.

Still, do contact MBA if they are in it, you might get some joy.

p1 3:56 pm 28 Mar 14

IrishPete said :

(Deed? if you don’t, maybe your lender has it?)

Bank might be interested in what is going on, since (unless you paid cash for the place) they probably technically own it… or should, except the builder is withholding handover.

Probably not though, since banks are scum.

IrishPete 11:55 am 28 Mar 14

I also understand a Certificate of Occupancy to be nothing to do with ownership, it certifies the building is complete and fit for human habitation. If you have nothing else (Deed? if you don’t, maybe your lender has it?) that proves ownership, you could end up in the Watchhouse if you break into the house. If you do have other documents that prove you own it, knock yourself out. The lawyer or Fair Trading route is safer but probably slower.

IP

goody658 10:32 am 28 Mar 14

Name and Shame?. There was a list of dodgy builders in the Canberra times the other day. Are they part of that list?

Elf 10:51 pm 27 Mar 14

You are not obligated to pay for the kitchen joinery unless you signed an agreement for the extras. This can be a invoice raised by the builder but it must be signed by both. He can’t just charge you extras you haven’t agreed to.

Likewise, you might have a case for the landscaping. If you still have the marketing docs, take it up with the real estate agent. The best place to do this is at an open house they are at. At least tell them you will tell everybody about how they ripped you off. You should at least out them and the builder on this forum. If you are telling the truth they can’t sue for slander.

I would do as others have said and take possession. Contact ACTPLA about the kitchen charges, they will confirm what I have said. Then harass the Real Estate Agent about the Landscaping pointing out his integrity is on the line given he sold it to you with marketing material including landscaping.

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