While that’s good news for savvy developers, it often comes at the expense of neighbors, who may face limited privacy, limited views, increased noise levels, and greater congestion. All of this can affect future sales and rental values.
Regardless of their magnitude, inappropriate developments can have a drastic impact on the streetscape. This is of particular importance in areas with listed features and/or houses from the same period.
Extraordinary building developments can detract and detract from the unique appeal of a streetscape and the properties within it.
Existing owners must take it upon themselves to keep themselves regularly informed of possible changes. The duty should never be passed on to property managers as they have neither the time nor the incentive to fulfill the duty.
Check with local authorities regularly to see if any plans are afoot. If so, which ones are they?
A tasteful new family home is not a problem and could even be positive. But when it’s a large, overbearing, multi-story development with a noisy construction site in between, a second thought is required.
Concerned owners need to familiarize themselves with the likely construction and the potential impact on their own property. If something doesn’t seem right, it’s important to act immediately.
Preventing an unsuitable development pre-construction – although time-consuming and challenging – is quite possible. Arriving late in the game and trying to remove a completed structure is often unsuccessful.
Property owners may need to hire an architect or surveyor at their own expense to assess the development and help bring a case against it if necessary. While this can be a frustrating upfront cost, it can save tens of thousands of dollars and years of heartache down the road.
Even if no plans are afoot, it’s important to consider possible contingencies. Large blocks of small, run-down houses in fast-upgrading areas are unlikely to remain in their current state for long.
Inquire if current Council planning and zoning regulations are sufficient to keep developments in check. But be careful, even if the regulations seem fixed, it’s important to recognize that they can always change. As negative as it may sound, it’s often best to think of the worst-case scenario and work backwards.
That said, big jobs can cause headaches for neighboring owners, but the other end of the spectrum can sometimes be worse.
Strong rates of capital growth have led to the proliferation of the land banking phenomenon in popular suburban markets. Properties can be left standing for years while their owners enjoy ever-increasing capital growth and consider the timing of potential development.
This is far from ideal for those living next to the often unkempt property, which at different times can be filled with roving renters, left empty, or frequented by squatters.
While dormant land next door causes problems, it’s far worse when neighboring property lines encroach. Long-ignorant property owners put themselves at risk of being taken over by opportunistic neighbors who lay claim to adjacent properties.
While I haven’t drawn the most idyllic scenarios of neighborhood relationships, the best way to avoid arguments is through open communication.
A knock on the front door and a cup of tea may prove more useful and longer lasting than a quick peek over the back fence.