Building permits: buyer beware

When residents are buying or selling a home, be aware of your responsibilities and liabilities concerning building permits.

If you purchase a property that has illegal building works, you as the current owner of the property are liable for those works.

As a preventative measure before you purchase, your real estate agent should ask for permission from the owners to access the building file at the council to ascertain that all works on the property have a building permit and an accompanying final certificate or occupancy permit.

If you are selling a property, any illegal building works on your property will generally be discovered at contract stage and you will be required to submit an application for illegal works.

This application has a penalty built into the application fee of 150 per cent.