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Signed a lease 2 weeks ago, owners are now subdividing and building units in my backyard


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#1 4lilchicks

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:36 PM

After people's thoughts on this please. I moved to a new house 3 months ago. I've just signed a new lease after the initial lease expired and now the estate agent has called saying that a draftsman is being sent out to measure up the land as the owners have decided to subdivide the land and build 2 units in the backyard. I'm not happy at all.  The house is on 1/4 acre, I'm going to lose the garage, 2/3 of the yard and possibly the bungalow.

What can I ask for if I decide to stay during and after construction? Things to think of for those who have been through (and survived) this would be so welcome!

Moving really isn't an option right now as I really can't afford to move again so soon. The house is perfect for us and so conveniently located. But I wouldn't have even inspected this house if I saw it with units in the back and such a small yard (which I voiced to the agent - politely).

#2 born.a.girl

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:39 PM

Don't have advice sorry, just wish there was some protocol that owners had to follow if they significantly changed the conditions of a lease, and that it provided for moving costs if the tenant didn't want the new conditions.

Plus of course someone to pack up and do all the paperwork for you for all the changes of address!


Really makes me mad.


I appreciate their decision may not have been made prior to you re-signing, but they should have spoken to you rather than your first knowledge of it being someone out to measure up.

#3 ECsMum

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:40 PM

You'd also be loosing Saturday morning sleep ins, and peace and quiet during the day with all of the building noises.

#4 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:41 PM

I'd contact the relevant tenancy agency and see what options are available to you.

#5 No Drama Please

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:45 PM

I’d contact tenants rights (they have an actual section about what happens when landlords carry our building work). For what it’s worth, not exactly the same situation, but when they wanted to sell our rental I just ask straight out if they could let me know what the rent reduction would be during the period it was on the market and it was enough to make it worth our while staying so that could be an option if you don’t want to move straight away.

#6 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:47 PM

 ECsMum, on 06 February 2020 - 01:40 PM, said:

You'd also be loosing Saturday morning sleep ins, and peace and quiet during the day with all of the building noises.

And also possible issues like dust which might matter if you have allergies.

I reckon you would have a good case to cancel the lease without penalty or be entitled to reduced rent, not that either of those issues is really the outcome you are after.  How rude of the landlord to do this!

#7 DaLittleEd

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:48 PM

How long is the lease you signed?

Depending where you live and what the council is like, it could easily be 6 months just to get plans drawn up and approved, especially if there are any objections etc.

If you do decide to stay, I think it's only fair to negotiate a much reduced rent, given you will lose your garage and yard. I would also push for a further temporary rent reduction during building due to inconvenience.

I would insist that the bit that will remain your backyard is fenced off before work starts, both for safety (so kids and pets can't access the building site) and for convenience (so builders don't try and leave supplies etc in your space). This probably sounds OTT but honestly if it's not fenced this is what will happen!

I would also insist separate site power and water is set up for the build, or that the owners pay for all power and water during construction. Also might sound OTT, but trust me if it's not set up first the builders will use your utilities.

Personally, I would be asking for approval to break lease at no cost to you as soon as construction starts.

Edited by DaLittleEd, 06 February 2020 - 02:06 PM.


#8 just roses

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:49 PM

That's appalling.

Surely, there are rules around this? Ethically, they should be discounting the rent significantly.

And what are the odds that they didn't know before you re-signed?

Of course they did :no2:

 born.a.girl, on 06 February 2020 - 01:39 PM, said:

I appreciate their decision may not have been made prior to you re-signing, but they should have spoken to you rather than your first knowledge of it being someone out to measure up.

We're planning to lease our house for 12 months a bit down the track. I want it in the ad itself, that it's a fixed term. And I plan to price it accordingly.

#9 born.a.girl

Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:59 PM

As per pps, you will definitely likely have issues with things like your water being used. There will be a portaloo in your front yard for the duration.


I've only had three places being built next door, but in two of the three cases, had significant issues - one was where they knocked down our front gate pole and refused to fix it until their places were complete - 18 months later, us with a toddler.

Another time they demolished a brick garage on the neighbouring property, with bricks etc falling into the properties of the two adjoining, our neighbours having a five year old who could have been out there.

They usually do the fences last (to avoid them being damaged during construction) so make sure you focus on that one.

Also, your driveway - is it your drive way they're going to be using?  If it's how I'm imagining, you're going to have tradie vehicles up and down your driveway for ages, some of whcih will have music blaring from them.

You say you're not ready to move, but I'd honestly consider it - the noise and disruption even when they were next door was considerable each time.

As per pps, it may be a while and you may be able to negotiate breaking the lease the moment the first construction vehicle lands on the property, and that may be a while off.

#10 IamtheMumma

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:02 PM

I’d be expecting a significant reduction in rent and, unless they provide separate services to the build site (which they will need to set up for the units), all your power and water costs from the second a contractor steps onto the block.

A clause in the builders contract that says no radios blaring on the worksite,

Alternatively, a no penalty break lease.

The cheek of the owners. I’d be really annoyed.

Edit - we’ve got houses going up behind us and I fricken hate it. Even with 7 metre tall dust screens, the house is constantly covered in dirt. There’s noise from sun up to sundown 6 days a week. The builders on the house behind us are particular sh*t as one of their workers throws rubbish over the fence into our yard. Thankfully his job seems to have finished and he’s moved on.

Edited by IamtheMumma, 06 February 2020 - 02:06 PM.


#11 4lilchicks

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:06 PM

The everyone, I'm making notes of what to ask for. I've also started documenting a timeline incase it goes to VCAT. I'm just so disappointed. The lease takes me through until October. I'm trying to look at it positively but I also don't want to be taken for a ride because I know it will disrupt my life when I can't get my car out the driveway because of trucks etc.

#12 Romeo Void

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:16 PM

I believe you own the right to use the whole property for the duration of the lease, so they can't take bits away and start building on it.  I think it will take quite a while for them to draw up the plans and get them through council etc.

Edited by Romeo Void, 06 February 2020 - 02:17 PM.


#13 just roses

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:30 PM

This is relevant to NSW, but it provides some interesting information about your rights as a tenant during periods of construction.

http://www.tenantsri...intro sheet.pdf

#14 got my tinsel on

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:33 PM

The subdivision itself will take some time before the building plans are even submitted to council.

But it is still a completely sh*t thing to do to you, OP.

#15 born.a.girl

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:34 PM

 just roses, on 06 February 2020 - 01:49 PM, said:

That's appalling.

Surely, there are rules around this? Ethically, they should be discounting the rent significantly.

And what are the odds that they didn't know before you re-signed?

Of course they did :no2:





Yes, I've just realised I misread, and thought the lease was signed three months ago, but it is two weeks ago.

#16 Chocolate Addict

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:38 PM

As Romeo Void said, you rented the property as is, on that size block of land etc.. I doubt they would be allowed to start building while you have a current lease.

They can probably get all the council approvals, do the plans etc that can take months in itself.


Definitely ring the tenant association.

#17 Hollycoddle

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:40 PM

 No Drama Please, on 06 February 2020 - 01:45 PM, said:

I’d contact tenants rights (they have an actual section about what happens when landlords carry our building work). For what it’s worth, not exactly the same situation, but when they wanted to sell our rental I just ask straight out if they could let me know what the rent reduction would be during the period it was on the market and it was enough to make it worth our while staying so that could be an option if you don’t want to move straight away.

I would go one step further and suggest a rent reduction full stop due to the fact that you accepted the property at that rent based on the amenities being provided, amenities which are now going to be significantly reduced.

Edited by Hollycoddle, 06 February 2020 - 02:42 PM.


#18 born.a.girl

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:43 PM

Ah yes, that's another thing - they'll use your rubbish bins and won't care what's supposed to go where.

Even with our own small renovation we had to hid the bins, ask them to put everything in one smaller bin then sort it ourselves.

Something accidentally in landfill instead of reycling is one thing - rubbish in the recycling and all sorts of stuff in the green bin is quite another.

Where will their rubbish pile be?  One guess, your front yard.

#19 just roses

Posted 06 February 2020 - 02:52 PM

OP, this is just a thought, but is it possible you might be getting ahead of yourself?

Did the real estate agent say anything to suggest that the work would be done during the term of your lease? I wonder if it's just a case of starting the ball rolling now, but planning to get started once your lease is up?

I remember with a unit we rented, the property manager had a couple tradies go through to measure and quote for work they planned to do between the end of our lease and the beginning of the next (we had flagged that we planned to move at the end of the lease).

ETA: It's still unacceptable that you weren't told when you signed the lease.

Edited by just roses, 06 February 2020 - 02:53 PM.


#20 IamtheMumma

Posted 06 February 2020 - 03:29 PM

I thought about where the skip would be too. I reckon front yard near the kerb where the truck can drop off and pick up easily. Plus all the cars from the workers and visitors to the site.

#21 wilding

Posted 06 February 2020 - 03:31 PM

 got my tinsel on, on 06 February 2020 - 02:33 PM, said:

The subdivision itself will take some time before the building plans are even submitted to council.

But it is still a completely sh*t thing to do to you, OP.

I hope that's the case for the OP, what a sucky thing to happen and hopefully it'll all work out how it's meant to.

#22 ~Bob~

Posted 06 February 2020 - 03:37 PM

I agree with just roses. By the time they draw up plans and get council approval, your lease would have ended. It does suck if you plan to re-sign, but jump that hurdle when you get there.

#23 *Spikey*

Posted 06 February 2020 - 03:37 PM

Get on to your tenants union, and the VCAT people who deal with leases. You are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property that you have a lease over, which means that they cannot use that part of the property for their own purposes, as that would be contrary to the lease of the land.

There would also be some question about the authority to send people onto the land for the purpose of subdividing it, as this is not maintenance or other things that relate to the rights or care of the property under lease. Which means they probably aren't entitled to do that without your cooperation either.

It's not the same as sending in the emergency plumber, or doing an inspection, if you see what I mean.

You can push back and ask the REA under which clause of the lease is this authorised. Also, read your lease carefully. There are specific rights when it comes to the sale of the property, but if they seriously intend to build, then you can demand (not necessarily get) them to pay for your move to a suitable replacement for the duration or to a new leasehold, as they misled you as to the suitability of the property and its size and amenities.

#24 *Spikey*

Posted 06 February 2020 - 03:38 PM

The more I think through it, they could probably subdivide it - but do nothing further until your lease is up and you are out, or have signed a lease over the smaller property.

#25 MrsMuzz82

Posted 06 February 2020 - 04:16 PM

 just roses, on 06 February 2020 - 02:52 PM, said:

OP, this is just a thought, but is it possible you might be getting ahead of yourself?

Did the real estate agent say anything to suggest that the work would be done during the term of your lease? I wonder if it's just a case of starting the ball rolling now, but planning to get started once your lease is up?

I remember with a unit we rented, the property manager had a couple tradies go through to measure and quote for work they planned to do between the end of our lease and the beginning of the next (we had flagged that we planned to move at the end of the lease).

ETA: It's still unacceptable that you weren't told when you signed the lease.

I agree with this. When we were renting, the owners were planning on demolishing and rebuilding the house, but only after we left. In that time, they had people around from time to time to measure and stuff so they could have plans drawn up and an application ready, but they weren't actually going to start the works anytime while we were there and the owner was clear that he wasn't in a rush for us to leave either and that this was more of a long-term plan. We had plans drawn up for our renovation and extension years before anything actually happened as well. I wouldn't be jumping to the conclusion that they are planning on doing this right now. It may be that they want to do it sometime down the track, possibly after you've already left. Maybe speak to the real estate agent before getting upset about it. Obviously, they can't do anything while the property is under the lease because presumably the land, garage etc was part of that lease. So at least you have that.




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