Simon Says…Love thy neighbour?

Do you sometimes fight with your wife, or yell at your kids?

Do you like to walk around in underwear or sunbake nude on your deck?

Do you like to cook with spice?

Do you often use your guerney to wash down the outside of your home?

Sure, not the sort of questions you’d normally think to consider when buying a home.

But with changes to guidelines on boundary relaxations they could be just as important as finding out how close you are to public transport, parks, shopping and schools or how many bathrooms.

Here are just a few examples of homes being built or renovated to take advantage of building close to the boundary.


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It’s prompted comments and questions like:

How can the owners and neighbours paint that side of their houses?

How do firemen and other emergency services gain access?

How do you open a window?

What about airflow?

And of course, how can this happen?

Well first of all….it’s legal.

The council or in some cases, private certifiers approve any application if it’s within the guidelines.

Guidelines that stipulate, you can build on the boundary if it is a non-habitable space for eg a garage, but it must be a concrete block wall or fire-rated wall.

In many cases the structure being built on the property boundary is approved but neighbours are unaware until construction begins.

So lets hope your neighbour renders it or at least paints it if you have a view of it from your home.

Of course homeowners and developers will always push the boundaries, (pardon the pun) to optimise the use of their land, irrespective of neighbourly views.

And in some cases owners will split their block of land and build two properties within these guidelines, which of course means they only need to tell themselves.

So what can you do if this starts happening near you or you like a property but not the close proximity to your neighbour and how will it affect future price markets of your property?

As Brisbane develops more towards a higher-density city, you will see this become more commonplace in more suburbs, like it is in southern states.

It may be a factor for buyers in the short term, and there will be some resistance but over time it will be not such a rare occurrence and indeed will be deemed acceptable in the high demand inner-city Brisbane locations.

Already there is a precedent of high density housing in suburbs like Toowong, St Lucia, West End, Taringa, New Farm, Teneriffe and many more.

From late 1800’s to the end of World War Two, many workers cottages were constructed on 405 square meters, with many built to the edge of the boundary (zero-lot alignment).

In recent changes to the town plan there has been a reversal back to this historical precedent.

Council previously required one meter, then 1.5m clearance from boundaries, now we are back to the zero lot alignment which was allowed when Brisbane was first settled.

So while you may occasionally hear a neighbour discipline a child, or smell the bacon from the kitchen next door, this type of inner-city development is here to stay and will increase.

Price wise, I don’t envisage it making any negative impact in the long term and the reason for this is Brisbane is growing in population and there is always an appetite for buyers to be close as possible to the city.

Bottom line, and on a positive note, it may prompt a return to the days when you really got to know your neighbours.

If you need further clarification on the boundary rules, you should visit your local council website.


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