A couple were looking to sell their home, so they decided to renovate the bathroom to add value.  They added a toilet in the bathroom, and tiled the shower.

Unfortunately, when they went to sell their property, they learnt that they should have obtained consent for the bathroom works before they started.  In order to meet their obligations under the Agreement for Sale and Purchase, they needed to obtain a ‘certificate of acceptance’ from the Council to confirm the work complied with the current building code.  This cost them a lot of money, and caused significant stress.

The following is the position in relation to bathroom works:

1.    If you have the same number of sanitary fixtures in a bathroom (replacing like for like, or moving a fixture somewhere else in the bathroom, including moving a toilet) these works do not need consent. 

This principle applies when replacing a shower that is positioned over a bath, with a separate shower and a separate bath (because there are already two fixtures in the bathroom). 

2.    More attention needs to be paid if:

(a)  A shower is being installed over a bath because this may count as a new fixture in the bathroom; and

(b)  If there is tiling in the shower and around the bath as the Council will want to check the waterproofing membrane. 

Both of these matters require a Building Consent and Code Compliance Certificate (“CCC”) from the Council. 

3.    Any wet area tiling, including flooring and walls that are tiled, require a Building Consent and CCC from the Council. 

4.    Before proceeding with any works, it is vital to check with Council or a builder to make sure you don’t get caught out when you come to sell.

There are many advantages for ordering and providing a LIM Report when you are planning to sell a property.  You will be able to find out what works at the property are unconsented, particularly if you are unsure of the renovation history.  This will ensure there will be no “surprises” that may set in motion a series of protracted negotiations or the expense of a variation of contract, or worse – a transaction that comes to an end. The latter may mean that you have lost other potential purchasers who have gone elsewhere in the meantime.  There will be less risk of your sale transaction “falling over”, as all information has been provided upfront.