New Standards in Apartments

New Standards In Apartments

New design standards for apartments came into effect in March 2017 and will be implemented in all planning schemes in Victoria. The purpose of the standards is to greatly improve the amenity and liveability of new apartments, providing clear guidelines in the following areas:

Building setback Natural ventilation
Functional layout Private open space
Room depth Communal open space
Windows Landscaping
Storage Accessibility
Noise impacts Building entry and circulation
Energy efficiency Waste and recycling
Solar access to communal open space Integrated water and storm water management

apartment standardsA copy of the Better Apartments Design Standards can be downloaded here.

In 2016, Planning Minister, Mr Richard Wynne, stated that: “Victoria needs liveable, affordable housing options to support our growing population. We’re pushing for new homes that are well designed and accommodate different household types.”

In particular, the new standards set out minimum access to daylight, functional space and natural ventilation. In recent years, developers have been submitting planning applications with the proposed new guidelines in mind. However, there are a significant number of Victorian buyers who purchased off-the-plan apartments before the new guidelines had been made public.

In these cases, an apartment purchased off-the-plan may be smaller than the required minimum size and therefore, may find it challenging to finance at settlement time. It appears that banks are tightening lending standards to high-risk segments of the property market amid a crackdown on residential mortgage by the Australian Prudential and Regulatory Authority (APRA). In a recent example, it was found that it was the bank’s policy to refuse lending for properties smaller than 50 square metres. An apartment of this size is considered a risky investment due to the inability to sell if they are geared too high.

For this reason, we recommend that before committing to purchasing an apartment, it’s wise to check with your mortgage broker and bank manager to ensure it meets the bank lenders’ criteria. Buying an apartment off the plan can be an exciting time but it’s important to do some research and carry out your due diligence prior to purchase.

SPI Property Inspections can also thoroughly review your contract to ensure that it is in line with industry standards. We can also provide advice on any issues that require clarification between parties. This may include issues relating to your responsibilities as an owner, variation of costs and possible hidden charges. Call the team on 1300 721 032 or request a quick quote online today.