A A A

You must be registered and logged in to reply to posts or post new topics. Click on "How to Use This Forum" for simple instructions on how to get on board. NB: Please do not use your real name or email address as your screen name - if you do it will be changed to something less insecure.

Avatar

Please consider registering
Guest

Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Register Lost password?
sp_Feed sp_PrintTopic sp_TopicIcon
Top unit attic/roof conversions
Avatar
rstar1
Newbie
Members
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
24/05/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
1
24/05/2012 - 1:30 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Hello everyone. I am new to flatchat so please be patient with me. I am also new to purchasing units. My question is: I am thinking of buying a top storey 1 bedroom or studio apartment and then down the track when I have more money add another bedroom and possibly small study to the roof. Nothing fancy . Is it possible and what are the perils ?

 

Many thanks

RebeccaKiss

Avatar
Sir Humphrey
Canberra
StrataGuru
Members

Full Members

Moderators
Forum Posts: 1062
Member Since:
19/04/2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
2
24/05/2012 - 11:20 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

While it would not necessarily be out of the question, it could just about be. The roof of a block of flats is generally common property. As such all owners have an interest in it. For you do an extension into this area you would need to be granted a special privilege over the common property (an unopposed resolution in the ACT, a special resolution in NSW, I think). There would need to be by laws created to make you responsible for maintenance and so on. Both you and the owners corporation would want good legal advice.

Alternatively, the scheme could be resurveyed with the area made part of your unit area and unit entitlements reassigned. This is also a major undertaking requiring a high level of support from owners. 

Avatar
struggler
NSW
StrataGuru
Members
Forum Posts: 458
Member Since:
02/11/2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
3
25/05/2012 - 9:24 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Yes it is possible.  But………….

The roof cavity would no doubt be common property unless stipulated otherwise. Not sure about what would actually involved exactly.  Exclusive use bylaw, strata lalwyers, engineers reports, council permissions, plans drawn up, increased levies due to increased area of unit, payment to OC for use of this area, purchase of this area from OC.  These things are just off the top of my head.  

Even to use this space as just a storage area I think would involve most of the above, let alone a living space.

Avatar
scotlandx
StrataGuru
Members

Full Members

Moderators
Forum Posts: 882
Member Since:
02/02/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
4
25/05/2012 - 1:20 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Yes you can, and a lot of people do.  There was an article about this in the SMH last week.

https://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/upwardly-mobile-20120518-1yu6i.html

The process is not simple and involves getting the approval of the owners corporation who would have to agree to an exclusive use by-law giving you use of that space because it is common property, i.e. it is owned by all the owners.  Amongst other things the by-law would make it clear that you were responsible for the ongoing maintenance of that space.  You would also have to pay for having exclusive use and that would be calculated by taking the cost of converting the roof space and deducting that from the assessed value of the space once it had been converted.  For example if you paid $50,000 for conversion and the assessed value of the space were $100,000 then you would pay the OC $50,000.  You would also have to pay to have the by-law drafted and registered.

From the point of view of most OCs they are unlikely to object to space being used that no-one else can use, provided they are satisfied that engineering requirements are met, the common property isn’t damaged etc.

You would have to draw up detailed plans, get engineer advice and put in a DA to the Council which would require approval of the OC before lodgement.  A major consideration is whether it is worth the costs relative to the increased value of the apartment.

Avatar
JimmyT
Admin
Forum Posts: 5157
Member Since:
06/01/2014
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
5
25/05/2012 - 4:29 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

I reckon this should be categorised as more of a dream than a plan.  There are so many potential pitfalls – not least the Owners Corp refusing to sell you the space, which as other posters point out, is theirs to do with as they please.  The thing to remember is that just because the attic is above your apartment, it doesn’t mean you have any greater claim on it than any other person in the building.

A much better plan would be to buy into a building that offers the potential for upgrading by buying a bigger unit when one becomes available (and maybe renovating that).  But, as ScotlandX points out, there’s no free lunch in strata – any ‘profit’ you make by extending into common property goes straight to the Owners Corp.

Avatar
rstar1
Newbie
Members
Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
24/05/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
6
25/05/2012 - 8:34 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print sp_EditHistory

scotlandx said
Yes you can, and a lot of people do.  There was an article about this in the SMH last week.

https://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/upwardly-mobile-20120518-1yu6i.html

The process is not simple and involves getting the approval of the owners corporation who would have to agree to an exclusive use by-law giving you use of that space because it is common property, i.e. it is owned by all the owners.

Thank you scotlandx  Kiss – we have both read the same article!  If my roof conversion is a total ” in – roof conversion” i.e. no overshadowing, no privacy issues, everything is in the exisiting roof,  does that mean from a Council perspective – a green ( greenish )  light to go ahead,  assuming the OC approves?  In the smh article , it gave the example of an owner paying $15,000 to the sinking fund initially for use of the roof space which they were pleased to get as no one else could reasonably use that roof space . There was no mention of having to pay the OC the assessed value of the converted space – which in my eyes would be hard to ascertain even at the point of resale of the unit.

My next question is what to look for in a unit with my plan in mind, having never bought a unit ( by myself ) before. I gather a pitched roof is a must – or am I wrong? A smallish block of units ? an oldish block of units ? Before I buy do I let the OC know of my ” down the track” plan and get their opinion? Remebering that it is only a plan and it may not happen.  What is the best way to go about it ?

 

Many thanks

 

Rebecca

Avatar
JimmyT
Admin
Forum Posts: 5157
Member Since:
06/01/2014
sp_UserOnlineSmall Online
7
26/05/2012 - 12:34 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Rebecca wrote:

There was no mention of having to pay the OC the assessed value of the converted space – which in my eyes would be hard to ascertain even at the point of resale of the unit.

There are professional surveyors whose job it is to assess the value of Real Estate and they would give you and your Owners Corp a fair assessment of the before and after values. The principle is well established and a legal precedent was set (in the High Court, I think) after an owner with most of the voting power in the building sold himself the loft space for a tiny sum to create two whole new apartments.  This was judged to be a ‘fraud on the minority’ and the principle of ‘buying’ the common property for the difference between the cost of the work and the increase in value was established.

I don’t know if you noticed in that article but Real Estate agents said the attic conversions add about $150,000 to the value of the property and that’s what the renovator paid to build his, so the $15,000 ‘donation’ may have been about right.  If it was well off and the established rules hadn’t been followed, any disgruntled owner or a new EC could come along and take legal action to get more money from the renovator.

I think if you have your heart set on this, you might be better off looking at a block of units where someone has already done this and then having a really close look at the EC minutes leading up to the renovation and during it.  You might find a building where the other owners are already cool about it.  Or it could be that it caused them so much hassle that they said ‘never again’!

Just remember that the OC doesn’t have to sell you Common Property (the roof space) if they don’t want to.  That is a great imponderable but if you’re keen, anything is possible.

Avatar
Madame_Chaire
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 18
Member Since:
26/04/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
8
14/10/2018 - 10:44 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

hello all, we are on the top floor of a  block of 6, and with our top floor neighbour, we are planning to extend our units in to our very adequate roof space. 

We had an initial chat with the OC at our recent AGM and there seemed to be broad support. We have now engaged a structural engineer to look at the space and provide a report. 

What I would like to know – to get the formal approval of the OC and to have a by-law passed to allow each party sole use of the space above their unit – is there a guideline available on what exactly is needed to present to a GM of the OC? Is there mention of this made in the Strata Schemes development act? (I couldn’t see it on browsing) or available somewhere else?   

Our strata manager said: engineer’s report, architectural plans, valuers report to help assess what might be payable to OC. Oh – yes, and a by-law! 

We realise we are on a long path towards actually breaking into the roof space, and want to ensure it’s all done by the book and with consideration for our neighbours. Once we have the approval – then the DA fun begins. On this note, we also understand from our SM that council may request fire compliance be re-checked…. any advice on this would also be welcome. In the past 5 years we have upgraded our emergency lighting and exit signs etc. There are smoke detectors in all units and fire doors on the front door of each unit. 

I realise this may well be opening a can of worms but hope there are some knowledgeable and learned insights to be had here. 

Many thanks

MC. 

Avatar
sujenna
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
10/03/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
9
16/10/2018 - 7:31 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

My story to tell was an extension into a back area or ‘void cavity’ in my apartment block of 8. However, it was a company title – and not strata, so strata laws didn’t apply. I owned and lived on the ground floor in a small one bedroom apartment. The unit next door was also one bedroom but had a common laundry situated behind it. All of the other units above were two bedroom. The builder in the 1950’s followed the brickwork for the walls of the rooms through all stories, but the back area behind my built in wardrobes was left as a ‘void cavity’ with the rough brick walls and a dirt floor. In essence there were three rooms already built with the brick wall layout present but never finished for living in. The telephone line for the apartment block passed through this area and part of the back wall was subterranean. The drawcard is that the apartment block is in a prime blue ribbon real estate waterfront beach area in Sydney’s northern beaches.

When this was brought to my attention via the apartment block plans from 1957 at our AGM, I of course wanted to extend into that area and an EGM was called to discuss. It was agreed in principle that if Council passed a DA the Body Corporate would sell me the area. A formula was devised of a valuation of a two bedroom minus the valuation of my existing one bedroom. I would then be given a discount of 50% of the difference of the valuation for using my initiative of developing an area that was of no use or access to anyone else. The 50% that I paid to the BC was to go to the very empty sinking fund to assist paying for building maintenance. It was a ‘win-win’ situation all around. This happened over 20 years ago, prior to the Sydney real estate boom. I would acquire the ‘void cavity’ for the payment of approximately $15,000. My share holding would increase on par with the others and I would be required to pay more in quarterly levies. A local solicitor experienced in corporations law drafted the necessary resolutions and agreements to increasing the shareholding etc. All other apartments were owner occupied by elderly residents on the old age pension who baulked at levy increases, so this extra bit of cash was more than welcome. The exception to unanimous approval negating to need to calling an EGM to pass the paperwork was the top storey unit – owned by an elderly country solicitor.

Council approved the plans which were sealed with the company seal. The plan included a window for the bedroom (the size of a small car windscreen) that fitted underneath those above it and matched the same size. The window was supported by a structural engineers report. Things went pear shaped when the country solicitor lobbied the other residents on his legal letterhead on the premise that a window would cause cracking and the building would ‘fall down’. Approval was withdrawn by the other owners and the project did not proceed.

The point I am making is that problems you may encounter are; 1.some owners can become jealous that another owner is getting something that they cannot get, 2. you may pay a lot in DA fees, reports, architect plants etc. and be left out of pocket for a project that does not proceed for some unanticipated reason 3. Relationships that were previously cordial with your neighbours can become strained, plus there is noise and inconvenience from building work if things did proceed. My solicitor was of the opinion that the ‘void cavity’ wasn’t common property as it could only be accessed through my wardrobes and I could remove the back of them and enter and leave as I pleased. Taking it to court to obtain a judgment for ‘specific performance’ would have been an expensive remedy for the Supreme Court. I did end up storing things in the void cavity such as my pushbike and uni books, but some years later sold up to become a member of the land of strata living.  Oh….and I did put the backs back on the wardrobes!!

Avatar
Madame_Chaire
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 18
Member Since:
26/04/2016
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10
17/10/2018 - 10:13 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

great story Sujenna. thanks for sharing your insights. 

cheers

MC

Avatar
Paul2000
Flat(chat)Mate
Members
Forum Posts: 50
Member Since:
06/04/2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11
17/10/2018 - 11:30 am
sp_Permalink sp_Print

The difference between strata and company title of course is that under company title the company, eg XYZ Pty Ltd, owns the building and you then hold shares in the company and that gives you a right of occupancy to a particular area (flat No 2 for example). There is no concept of ”common property” under corporations law as far as I am aware. I certainly wouldn’t be engaging architects, engineers and lawyers unless I had everyone well and truly onside first.

Avatar
sujenna
FlatChatter
Members
Forum Posts: 7
Member Since:
10/03/2013
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
12
11/11/2018 - 2:01 pm
sp_Permalink sp_Print

Paul2000 said
The difference between strata and company title of course is that under company title the company, eg XYZ Pty Ltd, owns the building and you then hold shares in the company and that gives you a right of occupancy to a particular area (flat No 2 for example). There is no concept of ”common property” under corporations law as far as I am aware. I certainly wouldn’t be engaging architects, engineers and lawyers unless I had everyone well and truly onside first.  

The agreement reached at the first Extraordinary meeting between shareholders was to have plans for the redevelopment of the void cavity drafted by an architect and approved by Council. If Council had refused permission to have the area developed into a habitable area then the proposal would have ended. At the same meeting a formula was devised and agreed to by the shareholders of a valuation of the finished apartment with two bedrooms minus the valuation of the one bedroom that exists. The balance would give a 50% discount for using a space that was of no use to anyone else. The solicitor was engaged to draft the proxy approvals and paperwork without the need for another meeting to be held. All shareholders were on side until one had second thoughts later on and reneged his approval.

Forum Timezone: Australia/Sydney

Most Users Ever Online: 518

Currently Online: JimmyT
25 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Whale: 1584

kiwipaul: 584

struggler: 458

Austman: 343

Millie: 212

Billen Ben: 205

Cosmo: 194

considerate band fair: 160

Boronia: 142

FlatChatFan: 140

Newest Members:

Marlyn Robertson

Quyen

srk

MayCliff

Climber70

teach

Mrboodly

marygreen

daisy555

Pyrmont Building Manager

Forum Stats:

Groups: 3

Forums: 40

Topics: 4960

Posts: 23497

 

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 243

Members: 5669

Moderators: 6

Admins: 1

Administrators: JimmyT

Moderators: Sir Humphrey, scotlandx, Christopher Jones, Lady Penelope, Stratabox.com.au, Jimmy-T