Selling A Home With Structural Problems That Is Not Council Approved
The incidence of this is quite common and I am frequently asked the question of what to do when a client wants to sell a home with structural problems and there is a structure on the property that has not been approved by the local council.
The answer will depend on the structure to some extent.
If it is an old shed or carport that has been on the property for years and years and doesn’t add any value to the property, I would suggest to remove the structure. If it wasn’t possible to remove the structure at the time of marketing the property for sale, acknowledging on the contract of sale to the buyer that the structure hasn’t been approved by council should suffice. In the unlikely event that council would ever come and challenge an old structure, it would not be a significant event or cost to have it removed and most buyers would feel quite comfortable with this.
If however it is a structure like a pergola, patio, garage, pool fence or any other addition that adds value to the property we would strongly recommend that the seller approaches the council to attain retrospective approval on the structure. This may involve getting a structural engineer to merely check for structural soundness, or in more serious situations may require, demolition or significant work to be able to attain council approval. If this is not done the seller would have to disclose that the structure is not approved by council and this would most likely discourage the buyer from buying the property.
The moral of the story is to get any structure that you plan to add to your property approved by council because if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before it comes back and bites you!