The Perils of not having Planning Approval for Additional Structures on your Property.

The Perils of not Having Planning Approval for Additional Structures on your Property

Have you ever wondered about the possible impact of erecting structures on your property without securing prior planning approval? It might seem fine at the time to erect that large shed at the top end of the block, put in a spa with a pergola for shade, or quietly extend the master bedroom a bit so that it can accommodate an ensuite bathroom, but would be ‘improvers’ who don’t place due importance on the need for council planning approval should be aware that when it comes time to sell, there are likely to be severe and costly ramifications in the settlement process.

We are not just talking about cost here – although it’s certainly true that retrospective planning approval for an unauthorised structure will cost more in engineering, surveying and other fees than if you applied in the normal way prior to the building work taking place. The other cost is in time, stress and sheer aggravation.

What structures do you generally need planning approval for?

Councils across Western Australia naturally have variations in their rules, but if you are considering erecting the following structures, you should talk to your builder or supplier about applying for planning approval:

Pools (need to meet all safety requirements including an appropriate fence and childproof
self -closing door with the latch on the pool side. Windows into the pool area need to have restricted opening so that children cannot climb through to the pool area)
Large sheds (small garden sheds usually do not need approval)
Patios
Pergolas
Changing a garage to take an internal room, bedroom, bathroom or toilet,
Any extensions to the property or addling a bedroom and/or bathroom in the roof space
Any instances where you are planning to put a roofing structure or even sails over an open courtyard area.

Do councils use Google Earth to check for unauthorised structures?

Some do … so be aware that Big Brother may be watching! It’s better to be safe by applying for planning permission for your new structure rather than be sorry later. There are well publicised costly and painful instances of homeowners trying to get away with large unauthorised modifications to their properties, and having to demolish them later on.

What happens if an owner has built a structure without planning approval on a property that is about to be sold and it comes to light during the settlement process?

The sellers will need to get retrospective planning approval – settlement cannot take place unless the buyer agrees to take responsibility for obtaining Shire approval after the sale has taken place. The seller and the buyer would both have to formally agree to this – and in practice, the chance of this happening is remote.

The usual process is that the seller has to apply for retrospective planning approval, and if the structure is a large and significant element of the building, the approval may have to go to a full Council meeting. The costs of application and other fees as well as engineer’s drawings could be well over $2,000 – and this is before taking into account the costs involved in making any required changes to the property that might be required by the Council. This process can take many months and either delay settlement or require that a proportion of sale proceeds are held back to cover the costs involved.

Sellers would then need to give the buyer’s tradespeople access to the building to make any changes required by the Council – and this ‘messy’ situation can lead to unnecessary tension and stress all round. It also means that the settlement agent is involved in more time and effort without reimbursement.

Does a building inspection report identify unauthorised structures on a property?

It is not the responsibility of building inspectors to go to the Council to check for planning approvals. Their role is to report on whether the structure is sound or not.

The conveyancer, however, will requisition a list of approvals for the property and this will list all the structures that have been erected since the original planning approval. This information should be shared with the buyers and it is then their responsibility to check with the seller’s real estate agent as to whether all the structures have council approval or not. As the list of approvals is often only supplied by Councils a day or so before settlement, this can lead to considerable pressure and stress on all parties and buyers are well advised to deal with the whole question of planning approvals early in the sales process rather than at time of settlement.

A buyer might even add a ‘subject to’ condition on the contract to the effect that their offer is subject to all structures being supported by Council planning approval … or, alternatively, they might require evidence from the seller that all structures have planning approval. This puts the onus on sellers to ensure that their property is fully compliant in terms of planning approvals.

With thanks to Cally Landless-Ockerby of Cally’s Conveyancing for the information provided.

5 Reasons Why You Need to Review Your Personal Insurances

Your personal insurance is an important part of your financial plan as it provides peace of mind and financial protection to you and your family in the event of death. Often total and permanent disablement cover is also ‘bundled’ with life insurance, this covers the scenario where you are unable to work due to total and permanent disablement, injury or illness.

Reviewing your insurances is important as your needs and circumstances change over time. There are many reasons why you may wish to review your insurances. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 reasons to review your life insurance:

 

 

  1. There have been changes to your occupation

Insurance premiums are generally calculated based on factors such as your age, health status, occupation and smoking status. If you change occupations, your cover may no longer be appropriate and in some cases may not provide cover for your new occupation.

If you’ve received a pay rise, you may need to review or increase your income protection sum insured.

  1. There have been changes to your lifestyle or health

If you have given up smoking (generally for a period of 12 months or more) you may wish to advise your adviser or  insurer as it could result in the premium reverting to non-smoker rates, which will lower the premiums you pay .

Other positive changes to your health including weight loss may also lower your insurance premiums.

If your health has deteriorated since you first took out your insurance, it may be difficult to obtain increases or make changes to the provider or type of insurance. Changes generally require you to undergo medical underwriting. Therefore if you are considering making changes to your insurances it is very important that you do not cancel existing policies until new applications have been accepted by the insurer and are in force.

  1. Your family situation has changed

Major changes to your circumstances such as marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one, or the birth of a child will generally necessitate a review of your insurance needs.

A new baby will generally mean additional financial responsibilities, whilst as children grow up and become financially independent, there may be less of a need to have insurance provisions in place to provide for them.

In the event of divorce or the loss of a loved one, you may wish to review the level of cover and the nomination of beneficiary for your policies.

  1. You’ve taken on more or less debt

The purchase or sale of assets and an increase or decrease in borrowings generally signals time for a review of your levels of cover as sums insured often take into account your level of liabilities that would need to be repaid (if no assets are sold) in the event of death, disability, illness or injury.

  1. It’s been a long time since you reviewed your policies

Insurance companies often review and upgrade their policies to provide better coverage to policyholders and to remain competitive within the industry. Insurance companies may increase policy definitions or offer cover under broader definitions which can make it easier to claim.

These improvements are not always automatically passed onto all existing policy holders. It can pay to check whether the policy has a “guaranteed upgrade” clause, which states that future improvements to the policy will also apply to exiting policy holders.

If it’s been some time since you last reviewed your insurances you may wish to review them with your financial adviser who can review your insurance needs and determine whether the current cover and policies are adequate.

Work Life Balance

Work life balance means different things to different people and for many of us it no longer means working nine to five. Due to technology and social media, the boundaries are blurring between work and home and it’s becoming hard to separate work and non-work.

There are many good reasons as to why improve your work/life balance but the most important is for the benefit of your health. Spending too many hours at work or thinking about work can result in stress, sleep deprivation, depression, being burnt out and unhappiness.

We need a good balance between work and rest to give our bodies time to relax, refresh and find balance. It’s important to know when you’re stressed that you aren’t being productive anymore.

The common signs that your work life balance may be off balance include:

  1. A diary full of work commitments
  2. Sometimes forgetting to eat lunch
  3. Spending less time with your family than you do with your colleagues.
  4. Having no time for sports or hobbies that you used to love
  5. Spending more time talking to work related colleagues and contacts on social media than you do with your friends and family
  6. Your family consider your work to be a constant intrusion
  7. Finding it hard to part with your phone or laptop  – even late at night or in the weekends
  8. Feeling stressed or suffering from insomnia.
  9. Talking mostly about work
  10. Being too busy for time off or a holiday

 

You don’t necessarily need to make big changes in order to bring more balance into your life. If you don’t have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself what other ways you can bring more enjoyment and relaxation into your life. The trick is to learn to focus your time and attention on the things that you can control.

So what’s the secret to a healthy work / life balance? We share our ten tips to get the balance right:

  1. Be open about your needs – whether you work for someone else, or are self-employed, we can all benefit from having an open and honest conversation about what balance means for us and whether this is possible to achieve this in the workplace. Perhaps it’s leaving the workplace at lunch, starting earlier so you can leave to get to that yoga class or having the flexibility to work from home on occasion.
  2. Set and respect your boundaries – you need to respect the boundaries you put in place. It might be something simple, like not checking or replying to work emails after 7pm. Boundaries help to establish your routine, create habits and a sense of balance.
  3. Work, Rest and Play. A good rule of thumb was the 8 hours work, 8 hours rest and 8 hours play.
  4. Focus on what really matters – Often we waste time on the things that don’t really matter or which don’t add much value. Learn to prioritise those tasks that really matter, focus on outputs.
  5. Embrace the “Off” button – it might sound simple enough, but using the “off” button can be a lot harder than we think. Start small – perhaps by not using the phone at dinner or after a certain time in the evening. When on holiday – be on holiday. By “unplugging” we can start to really enjoy the moment and we are more present.
  6. Use technology to your advantage – technology offers many shortcuts likely online shopping, bill payments and video conferencing as well as many useful apps. When used wisely these tools can save time every day.
  7. Schedule and manage your time – if you start to monitor your time closely you can see where it is being wasted and find ways to do things smarter and faster. Start to prioritise the things that need to be done first.
  8. Take short breaks / plan a holiday – plan important family commitments, holidays and outings. Take time out for yourself.
  9. Slow down – pace yourself. Life is not a race. Often the pressure we feel can be self-imposed. There are times when you may need to apply a little more pressure, and times when you don’t, learn to slow down and work out what is really important.

Ask for Help – If you feel like things are out of balance or that you may be suffering from burn out or stress, then it is important that you seek help. Talk to your manager, friends or loved ones.

Hayfever Still Bothering You ?

The dust mite is a microscopic insect that is found in high concentrations in bedroom mattresses, pillows, sofas, carpets, rugs and general dusty areas of the house. Dust mites love moisture and warmth, coming to the surface of mattresses at night while we sleep.

The waste products of dust mites cause aggravation in a range of conditions such as asthma, hayfever,allergies and sinus problems.

Steps to minimise dust mites in your home;-

  • Air and clean your mattress, covers and pillows regularly in the open air and sunlight
  • Remove fluffy toys, cushions, fluffy rugs, animal skins and curtains from the bedrooms
  • Wash materials in hot water and eucalyptus oil rinse
  • Vacuum and damp dust window sills, cupboards, shelves, etc twice weekly. Use a damp cloth instead of a feather duster
  • Put toys in a plastic bag and freeze for 24 hours and then wash in warm or hot water every few weeks
  • Use “dust mite free” bedroom accessories
  • Avoid lying on carpets or low areas where dust mites are concentrated
  • Keep pets out of the bedrooms and regularly vacuum areas they use
  • Wear a face mask when cleaning while dust is spread into the air
  • Discard unnecessary ornaments such as silk flowers as they collect dust and are difficult to clean
  • Keep books in an enclosed bookcase and make sure they are regularly cleaned
  • Close your windows on windy days and open on still sunny days
  • Invest in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and motorised head which cleans carpets deeply and prevents the redistribution of dust into the air
  • Invest in a portable or fully ducted home air filter unit
  • Get professional cleaning for central ducted air-conditioners

In addition to reducing dust mites in your home, Naturopaths take a full case to determine personal attributes contributing to the allergic response. Several herbal preparations can be prescribed specific for an individual.

Why Do People Buy

The age old question and the one that every business is constantly battling with, but which they need to master to enable their business to succeed !!!

The answer to this can not summed up in one short newsletter, but we will be working on this in future newsletters to give you tools that can assist you in mastering the sales process. Why is this so important?

You can have the best product, the best people and the best business, but unless you can get potential customers to buy from you, then the future success of the business is limited.

Before we get in to the strategies for improving sales, we must first understand what makes people buy. People buy based on their needs and wants and the way you approach these two different aspects will assist in determining your success. Having said that, no matter what the reason for the purchase, there is always going to be a level of emotion in a purchase and you need to be able to identify what that emotional trigger is with your potential purchaser.

You may have a process in place that you and your salespeople use that may be giving you mixed results. Your going through the process and you think you have the purchaser, but when it comes to closing the sale you do not win the business.

It can be frustrating, but it comes down to understanding why they did not purchase. In most cases the purchaser was not comfortable with because you did not accomplish the three musts that are needed to enable a purchaser to buy.

1) The purchaser must love your product or your service

2) The purchaser must love and trust you

3) The purchaser must love and trust your company

Until you have established the above three musts with the purchaser they will not buy. These three musts need to be continually established throughout the buying cycle, not when you are closing at the end, no matter what you are selling. It is imperative that your sales process involves lowering the purchasers threshold to buy by achieving the three musts in closing a sales.

KEY TIP: You should be working on closing a potential purchaser from the first time you make contact with them and right through the sales cycle.

How is your sales process? Does it deliver the results you require or are your team missing potential sales. If you would like to find out more about how to Influence, Persuade and Sell for Success, contact us on 1300 323 133.

 
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