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A new era for NSW apartment owners

31 August 2020

New and prospective homeowners will have unprecedented protections against purchasing defective residential apartment buildings from tomorrow, when the NSW Government’s landmark Residential Apartment Buildings Act 2020 comes into effect.

 

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the new laws work to prevent buildings with serious defects going on the market, and give clear recourse in the event of a defect.

“The days of shonky certifiers and dodgy developers ripping off unknowing apartment buyers are numbered. They are officially on notice – we can now stop you pushing defective buildings onto consumers,” Mr Anderson said.

“From tomorrow, the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner will have the power to stop defective apartment blocks from being built and sold. Developers who have done the wrong thing can also face huge fines.”

The changes include a compulsory six-month notification that a developer will be applying for an occupation certificate; powers to withhold an occupation certificate where the building is not up to scratch; the ability to order rectification of any serious defect and recover costs associated with that rectification; and on-the-spot inspections of buildings up to six years old, and in extreme circumstances up to 10 years old.

“These new powers provide a massive increase in the level of assurance and protection for consumers. They are a critical step in the NSW Government’s commitment to restoring consumer confidence in the building sector,” Mr Anderson said.

NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler OAM said they send a clear signal to the construction sector that sub-standard projects will not be tolerated.

“Our sights are set on the small percentage of industry players who aren’t doing the right thing. Whether you are a builder cutting corners, or a certifier passing work that isn’t good enough – expect action from our new team of inspectors,” Mr Chandler said.

“We acknowledge, however, that sometimes things may not always go to plan, and I want to assure industry that we will work constructively during the audit process with parties who are trying to do the right thing to help resolve issues efficiently.”

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