Owners’ fury over changed floor plans
Dozens of furious apartment owners in Sydney say huge chunks of the courtyards and rooms promised in their off-the-plan homes have failed to materialise.
At least 35 residents at the Ramsgate Park development in Kogarah, in the city's south, are now considering legal action - with some saying unexpected changes have knocked tens of thousands of dollars off the value of their new homes.
They say their apartments, in some cases, have been rearranged with their city views lost and entire rooms going AWOL from the floor plan, but the developer denies and changes the design, plans or size of lots in its contracts.
News.com.au has spoken to several owners and residents who say the courtyards they saw in the plans back in 2017 have shrunk substantially.
They said they arrived recently to find the courtyards have been turned into communal areas for the complex, which is made up of approximately 534 apartments across four residential buildings.
One of those who thought he'd made a sound investment was Yang Yang who paid $680,000 for a ground level apartment with a courtyard.
He told news.com.au he specifically bought the Ramsgate home because he wanted to enjoy an outdoor space where he could sit back and enjoy a coffee.
He agreed to buy it from developer JQZ back in 2017, when the floorplan showed that there would be a spacious 35 sqm courtyard.
"I purchased in good faith knowing that JQZ has a good reputation and deliver good quality, trustworthy company," he told news.com.au.
"But at early completion stage in September this year I drove pass the site and saw the shape of my courtyard isn't quite the same as it was on the floor plan."
It was then he asked a JBZ worker to measure the courtyard. He found out his promised 35 sqm courtyard was now less than half that, measuring just 15 sqm.
The rest of the space where his courtyard was supposed to be had become what he calls a "communal nature strip".
When he contacted JQZ, they eventually emailed him back saying that strip was his property and he could remove the plants if he wished.
He said the developer's actions were the most "disgusting, shameless behaviour I have seen in my life".
"(It was) basically saying 'no go away this is your apartment your courtyard and if you don't settle we will apply a penalty'," he said.
Financial manager John Flinn bought a Ramsgate apartment as an investment for his young family's future.
But he has copped it even worse telling news.com.au his 45 sqm courtyard had been reduced to a measly 12 sqm space.
Other residents who have spoken to news.com.au say their apartments are "completely different" to what they were sold two years ago.
Some claimed studies have gone missing, the layout of their apartment had changed and the city views they had been promised failed to materialise.
Mr Flinn told news.com.au he thinks JQZ are "trying to bluff purchasers into accepting the smaller apartments" - but some of the buyers aren't having any of it.
"I have spoken to other purchasers that have had the entire apartment reconfigured and purchasers are not happy," he said.
Now at least 35 of them have clubbed together and they are in talks with solicitors about taking legal action.
They are demanding their contracts are ripped up and their deposits refunded, having rejected JQZ's offers of a 2 per cent discount or a replacement apartment.
There are similar complaints emerging from buyers at Prime towers in Macquarie Park, in the city's north, which is also developed by JQZ.
Apartment owners there have written to Fair Trading accusing JQZ of issuing misleading and deceptive contracts.
Marina Lee, who has bought an apartment there, told The Daily Telegraph: "I'm in the class action, I've lost a study and my balcony has been split into two parts, it's now completely useless. This is not the apartment I agreed to buy."
In a statement to news.com.au, a spokeswoman for JQZ denied there had been any "material change to the design, draft plans or the size of lots, in our contracts".
The spokeswoman said when selling property off the plan, "developers need a degree of
flexibility in the construction of development as in most cases approvals are yet to be obtained and the details of the Council's and consultants requirements are yet to be set".
"Our contracts maintain a right for the buyer to cancel their contract and get their deposit back in a range of circumstances. These promises are in writing and will be honoured," the statement read.
"In respect to the claims that certain lots sizes have changed, in the contracts the parties agree that if the size of the lot has been reduced by 5 per cent or more, the buyer will have a right to cancel their contract and obtain a refund of the deposit."
The spokeswoman said JQZ "has and will continue to abide by its contract with its buyers and with the law", and went on to say purchasers were "using the media as leverage".
"We are proud of our developments and are conscious of the significant investment purchasers have made in our product - we want all of them to be happy and will continue to work with them to address any concerns they have," she said.
A spokeswoman for lawyers Colin Biggers and Paisley confirmed to news.com.au they had spoken with buyers from the Ramsgate complex, but they were not acting on their behalf.
Have you been dudded with an off-the-plan apartment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org