Australia: Homeowners' horror as they are hit with surprise $90,000 bill over building flaw that was APPROVED by the proper authorities - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaHomeowners' horror as they are hit with surprise $90,000 bill over building flaw that was APPROVED by the proper authorities

09:56  15 april  2019
09:56  15 april  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Homeowners ' horror as they are hit with surprise $ 90 , 000 bill over A young couple have been stung by a surprise , 000 bill for a flaw in their building - despite the 'We have to come up with $ 90 , 000 to replace cladding that wasn't disclosed on any documentation that was signed off by local

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A young couple have been stung by a surprise $92,000 bill for a flaw in their building - despite the feature being approved by authorities.

Homeowners' horror as they are hit with surprise $90,000 bill over building flaw that was APPROVED by the proper authorities© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Jessica Howsey and Ryan Silvagni (pictured) bought an apartment in a block of units in South Yarra, Melbourne, after they became engaged Jessica Howsey and Ryan Silvagni bought an apartment in a block of units in South Yarra, Melbourne, after they became engaged.

Their apartment block was audited by the Victorian Building Authority in 2018 and was found to have the same dangerous cladding as was on Grenfell Tower when it caught fire in 2017, killing 72 people.

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The couple were told they would have to pay more than $90,000 for the cladding to be removed.

'We are first-home owners, we are young professionals. There are people here who are retired, there are single mums in this building, I mean it is almost a joke,' Ms Howsey told Nine News.

They were given a huge bill by the VBA to remove the cladding on their new home.

'We have to come up with $90,000 to replace cladding that wasn't disclosed on any documentation that was signed off by local councils and fire authorities, it's like a slap in the face to be honest,' Mr Silvagni said.

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The couple have been advised to take out a loan to pay for the cladding to be removed.

But Ms Howsey said the loan scheme provided by the Government for cladding removal was not applicable for their circumstances.

'There is a cladding rectification agreement loan that's being made available by the Government but there is only one council participating at the moment because it is optional,' she said.

'You cannot create a scheme for optics and say, ''look how we are helping Australians'', when you make it optional and you make it flawed - no one can access that scheme.'

Homeowners' horror as they are hit with surprise $90,000 bill over building flaw that was APPROVED by the proper authorities© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Their apartment block (pictured) was audited by the Victorian Building Authority in 2018 and was found to have the same dangerous cladding as was on Grenfell Tower when it caught fire in 2017

Pensioners Jennifer, 78, and Kevin Opie, 84, also live in the apartment block, and were shocked to find out they would be charged to remove the cladding on their building.

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'We opened up our computer and saw that we owed $92,000... we were absolutely panic-stricken, we were devastated, we couldn't believe it,' Mrs Opie said.

The couple were told that if they did not pay the $92,000 to remove the cladding in two months then they would face further fines of $20,000 or be evicted from the property.

Mrs Opie said the stress had forced her to take anxiety medication and stopped her from sleeping.

The Opies said the VBA told them to take out a loan to pay for the removal.

In a statement, the VBA said public safety was their 'first priority'.

'Combustible cladding needs to be removed from these buildings and the VBA will support owners through this difficult process,'  a VBA spokesperson said.

'The Supreme Court of Victoria determined in December 2017, that after an occupancy permit is issued, the Victorian Building Authority cannot direct builders to fix non-compliant work.

'This means that owners are responsible for fixing their buildings. The VBA acknowledges the difficulty for owners and will help them navigate this complex task.'

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WHAT IS CLADDING?

Cladding is a non-loadbearing skin or layer attached to the outside of a home to shed water and protect the building from the effects of weather. It is a key element in the aesthetic appeal of the home and directly influences both building cost and property value.

Your choice of cladding has a significant effect on the environmental performance of your home.

The primary roles of cladding are to control the infiltration of weather elements and the egress of water vapour while providing a durable, aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Secondary roles can include sound and thermal insulation, fire resistance, and the capacity for cleaning in dusty, polluted or vandal prone environments.

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