A couple who used their savings to buy their first home have been left distraught after a neighbouring house was built so close the two roofs are touching.
Just months after Nina and Wayne Austin moved into the four-bedroom property in Logan, south of Brisbane, the house next door was constructed with the gutters millimetres away.
‘No other home is like this … there are other homes that are close, but not like ours,’ Mrs Austin told the ABC.
A couple who used their savings to buy their first home in 2019 have been left distraught after a neighbouring house was built so close the roofs are touching
Just months after the Nine and Wayne Austin (pictured) moved into the four-bedroom property in Logan, south of Brisbane, the house next door was constructed with the gutters touching
The couple, who have two young children, said they will regularly see people walk passed their home who stop to comment on the building.
‘We feel like the investment for the future for our kids is gone, that we are not safe, we feel ripped off,’ Mrs Austin said.
Mr Austin, who works in the construction field, said he first noticed something could be wrong when the layout of the foundation slab was being poured next door.
The pair raised concerns with Logan City Council but were told their neighbours’ house was legal and that their own should not have been certified.
Mr Austin explained when their house was being constructed the builder had to change the approved plans to switch the garage to opposite side to fit on their block.
The new design was then approved by an independent certifier.
‘Our trust was in the builder and certifier, 100 per cent, it’s their job to get these things right. If they can’t get it right, they’ve got to fix it, simple,’ he said.
The house was intended to be a stepping stone which the pair could sell in the short term after getting a foothold in the market, however, they are now uncertain whether there will be any demand for their property due to the possible legal issues around selling.
On top of this, despite discussions with the builder and certifier over the past six months, neither of them have admitted fault leading to further stress for the couple.
They have also spoken to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission about insurance but were told they were not covered for the home warranty scheme because the issue is not a building defect.
They have filed two complaints against the certifier but have been advised any finding of fault would still not result in compensation.
Property lawyer Bronwyn Weir told the publication the Austin’s only chance at compensation would be to take the builder or certifier to court but warned that would be an expensive and lengthy process.
A posting from a community board about the nightmare build (pictured)
She said the case, however, raised a valid point of whether planning issues should be covered under the QBCC home warranty scheme rather than just building defects.
She also advised first homebuyers who are looking to make the most of government grants to consider enlisting their own certifier or consultant – rather than relying on the builder’s.
Mr Weir said this kind of second opinion could come in handy, especially for those new to the property market.
She also added a good builder should not be offended by a client taking a hands-on interest in their own project.
The house is located in a development in Logan, south of Brisbane in Queensland (pictured)