Never under estimate the importance of obtaining a Property Profile Assessment Report (PPR).
What Is A Property Profile Report?
This is a complete dossier of the property that you intend buying as reflected in the council records. It gives you the history of the property based on the information obtained from within the council’s property files, this is different to a LIM report. This enables the actual physical property to be compared with the actual approvals granted by council over time and any other matters associated with the property that could be problematic for you as the new owner in the future.
Please note that this service does not include Town Planning and Resource Management Act issues as this is a specialist area on its own. Arrangements can be made on request should investigations in these areas be required.
What Will You Find In A PPR Folder?
- Copy of the council property file, in electronic format.
- A report covering the outcome of the site inspection which will address all issues noted along with recommendations (NOTE: this is not a Pre Purchase report).
- Hardcopy of any relevant documents pertinent to any concerns noted.
- Status of any Code Compliance Certificates (if relevant)
- Recommendations for any reports required to address any unauthorised building works or similar.
- LIM report if specifically requested (at additional cost)
When purchasing a home the average buyer is not always aware of, nor appreciates the complexity of some of the potential problems associated with regulatory compliance, this is all about the data that the council has on all properties. Every property purchaser will eventually become a vendor! A vendor should acknowledge their responsibilities and be proactive to ensure that their property is accurately reflected within the council records, this will work towards seamless and cost effective transactions in the future.
Invariably any issues that are discovered when the purchaser undertakes the due diligence process, time is limited due to settlement dates to resolve these matters. These potential delays become costly as it introduces the need for lawyers to have to negotiate alternative arrangements to accommodate these unforeseen problems, usually in the form of an extension of time or a bond held until the matters are resolved.
This can break the momentum of a sale and more often than not the sale falls over.
So What Are The Unforeseen Problems?
The most common are alterations and additions carried out to the dwelling or outbuildings over the years without the local council’s approvals. Traditionally it has been the Kiwi way (DIY) to undertake these works to the family home without obtaining the appropriate approvals, this is termed as “unauthorised building works” and depending on the extent of these works and when they were undertaken, can be costly and time consuming to resolve, and in some instances may have to be completely removed. An unsuspecting purchaser will by default inherit the problems created by previous owners when the sale and purchase process has been completed. These matters can have the potential to end up in costly legal battles.
Common examples are: decks, carports, basement conversions, garage conversions, re configuration of bathrooms and kitchens and conservatories, the list goes on!
There are also a lot of dwellings that the local council does not have a file on. Any dwelling that was constructed by the crown prior to 1991 will not feature within the council records as the government was exempted in those times from having to obtain building permits. The problem this presents is that the council will have little to no information in which to base any future approvals on and it can be a costly exercise to provide a plan and a description of the dwelling in an acceptable format for the council. There are also many instances where the council has simply misplaced the property file and as the new owner, by default will have inherited all the associated costs.
There are various facets of council approvals associated with a dwelling, such as, Subdivision, Town Planning, Building, Plumbing and Drainage, Resource Consent (RMA), Swimming Pool Compliance, Enforcement (complaints) and Health, all of which can have unresolved issues. Again without careful assessment of the property file the unsuspecting purchaser can inherit these unresolved issues.
It is very important that at the time of the purchase to ensure that the property is accurately reflected in all aspects in the council file. There is only one way to thoroughly complete this exercise, this is to obtain a copy of the council file (this is not to be confused with a LIM report) and undertake a methodical check of the dwelling, outbuildings and surrounding area to ensure that the property is an accurately reflected in the council records.
There are mechanisms available to address any anomaly that may be identified. The most common is the unauthorised building works. Firstly it is necessary to establish when this work was undertaken as this determines the process that has to be followed. The crucial date is 1st July 1992 which was when the NZ Building Act 1991 became effective, there was a transitional period in place from the previous by-law regime. Any works undertaken prior to then is dealt with by means of a“Safe and Sanitary Report”. This type of report simply confirms that the building is “Safe” and is “Sanitary” as set out in sections 121 and 123 of the current Building Act.
Works undertaken after this date are a little more complex to resolve, the process is called a “Certificate of Acceptance”. This is far more complex as it is necessary to prove that all the building works comply with the current clauses of the NZ Building Code. When the council processes such an application it is scrutinised in the same fashion as if it were a building consent for new work, meaning that compliance has to be achieved with all the relevant legislation and standards, including Town Planning and the RMA. Specialist expertise is required to present these applications to the council as invariably there are technical matters that must be dealt with.
Depending on the age of the property there are various other forms of documentation that can be important to the new owner for reference should problems arise and also in some instances for obtaining finance and insurance. The most important is the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC), we cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of ensuring that the council has issued the CCC for each and every building consent issued for the property.
Councils will not generally issue the CCC for an older building consent. It is critical to determine the status of all building consents where there is no CCC as this can have an immense effect on finance, insurance and resale potential. Again as the unsuspecting purchaser you can inadvertently inherit what could result in a very costly mistake. There can be ways to address these matters in some instances, depending on the scope of works that the building consent was issued for.
The other important matters are called property requisitions. These range from official notices that have been issued under either the Building Act, Fencing Swimming Pools act or the Resource Management Act and can result in prosecutions should they be left unresolved this can include complaints received from other property owners for various reasons.
There are also benefits to the vendor as during this process in preparing a particularly with a monolithically clad dwelling) to identify issues that could result in legal redress. There may be an opportunity for the vendor to rectify these matters and recover the cost through the appropriate channels. This could circumvent costly legal actions for all parties in the future. The site visit associated with a PPR is not a moisture assessment of a dwelling.
The service that is offered will encompass all the points addressed above plus more depending on the style and type of property. It is necessary to engage a suitably qualified consultant to provide this service as this will ensure that all the relevant matters pertinent to your property will be adequately researched and addressed. Councils will only accept property reports such as Safe and sanitary reports and certificate of Acceptance Applications from approved independent building Consultants.
It must be clearly understood that when the property is inspected in conjunction with a Property Profile Report it is not to be misconstrued as a Pre Purchase Inspection or a Moisture Assessment associated with leaking buildings. It is critical that a Pre Purchase inspection be undertaken by a competent company that specializes in these services.