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Property Encroachments

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Caller Merilyn (5AA 9.20-9.24) Properties encroaching on council land in the Charles Sturt Council area

(Byner: We’re talking today about the fact that it’s official. Both the Opposition and Crossbenches have said we’re not going to back the Marshall Government’s idea to rate cap, that’s out the door. You’ve heard both sides of the argument. My question to you is, what do you make of it? Let’s ask Merilyn ...) ... this is not probably about that but it is concerning the council that I live in ... we had a letter from them. Now all of a sudden 40-something years later they have decided that there’s parts of our load encroaching on the council property by 81cm. Now they’ve sent us this letter ... I believe there’s about 155 houses caught up in this ... where I am it was developed by Delfin; nobody had any say in it ... (Byner: ... is the letter asking for a remedy from you?) ... each and every person is to take out a $20 million public liability insurance must be in place. (Byner: What!) Yes and also ... what is there can stay but we have to have a permit ... they will give us this permit which I believe will last for 43 years but we’ll have an annual cost. (Byner: How much are they wanting for a permit for 43 years?) They haven’t told us, they haven’t told us. (Byner: And this is based on an amount of space, how many centimetres?) 81cm. (Byner: 81 ... it’s signed off by the council?) The one I have got is signed by the Strata Corporation. They’ve obviously contacted them. There’s a few in strata have actually had letters from the council. (Byner: ... Strata Corporation is not the council.) No I know but there’s three residents have had official letters from the council ... two of them there’s decking; they have put decking out ... which is fair enough ... they would have had permission to put those there. (Byner: Look what I’m going to do I want you to have a talk to ... John Darley in the Upper House ... this is something you’ll get for nothing. Which council? Now in this case you’ve got letters from a Strata Corporation, but..) Yeah but our neighbours have got an official letter from the council. (Byner: Saying the same thing?) Yeah, yeah. (Byner: Which council?) Charles Sturt. (Byner: All right, I want you to hang on Merilyn, we’re going to put you on to John Darley. This is an interesting one, isn’t it? An 83cm [sic] encroachment ... these things are a real worry because we all assume so many things and generally speaking when you buy a house and land package the developers done all the markings and you assume that everything they’ve done is completely kosher but as you have discovered a lot of people now are looking for extra money and they’re looking in every nook and cranny. I’ll get John Darley on air about this because I suspect there would be a lot of people listening today who potentially have exactly the same issue ... I think you’ll find this will be a fascinating story.)

John Darley, Advance SA MLC (5AA 9.38-9.40)

(Byner: Good morning John Darley ... what do we do about these encroachment letters that people are getting?) Well I think the best thing to do is for me to have a look at that. I’ve never heard of this before. (Byner: Really?) And it sounds a bit strange to me, but I’d be prepared to have a look at this if you can give me the details on that. (Byner: Yes I can. Got a question for you though.) Yeah. (Byner: If you get a letter from a Strata Corporation or a council telling you that you’re over the boundary against your favour by say 18cm and they want a remedy what should you do?) Well I guess the first thing that you do if it’s serious you need to get legal advice ... some people seem to think that because your property encroaches on theirs they can tell you to either buy the land or take the building down ... that rarely happens, if at all. (Byner: What happens instead, how is this normally worked out?) They generally sit down and work out some solution on it but you know the extreme measure of having to buy the land or remove the structure that is encroaching it has to be pretty serious and particularly in metropolitan areas where that piece of land wouldn’t be worth that much in any case. (Byner: Well look we are seeing this happen more and more ... I’ve referred the caller to you ... I reckon there are a few of these happening ... I’ll tell you where it is likely. Let’s say you buy a house and land package from a developer ... you will make an assumption that their property lines are accurate ... so I guess you’d be in a bit of a shock wouldn’t you if you get a letter saying ‘hang on a minute you’re 18cm’, or how many it is, ‘on other land, you need to do something about it’.) Yeah, we had one of these just recently where a builder built a pair of townhouses on a block adjacent to a private property and then he said ‘oh you’re encroaching on our land’ ... it was about the same as you’re talking about, 18cm ... the fence was in perfect condition and the builder was saying ‘you’re going to have shift the fence’. (Byner: So what happened?) Well at the end of the day they actually did that ... it was a ludicrous situation really. (Byner: So if you get a letter asking you to remedy what is a relatively small encroachment ... give your office number because you’re going to get a lot of calls on this.) 8237 9114. (Byner: ... if you’ve got this issue call him and we’ll take the next step.)

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