Car space described as "storage space" in contract

Hi

This is my first post. My wife and I recently signed a contract to buy a 1-bedroom apartment off the plan in a 130+ apartment development in the City of Sydney council area. In our discussions with the sales agent we were offered the option of purchasing a "car parking space" with the apartment for an additional $60,000, which we decided to do. We paid a holding deposit on the apartment, but when our conveyancer saw the contract, she noticed that our "car space" was described as a "storage space", with a minimum area of 12.5 square metres. I queried this with the Sydney Council, and the first person I spoke to assured me that there was no reason we couldn't use a "storage space" to "store" a car, and that there wasn't any advantage to the developer in having this space described as a storage space. So with this assurance, and after further conversations with the sales agent and our conveyancer, we went ahead and exchanged contracts late last week. The development is expected to be completed in May or June 2014.

Today I received a call from someone else in the Sydney Council's Town Planning area, who was belatedly replying to an email query I had lodged a week or so before signing the contract. He told a very different story: if the space is designated as a storage space on the approved DA and subsequently on the registered strata plan, then under no circumstances will we be allowed to use that space to house a car.

I then contacted the developer's agent again, and had a conversation with the director of the company to try and clarify when the "storage space" would be redesignated as a car space. He explained that it would not be, and that it would be perfectly legal for us to use the space to park a car if we chose to, once the final strata plan was registered. He said that the Council would have no interest in how these spaces were actually used, as long as they were designated in accordance with the planning regulations (which apparently place limits on the numbers of car spaces you can have for developments of a given size).

Has anyone else had experience of anything like this? I'm assuming that we don't have any legal recourse to rescind the contract or renegotiate the sale price (given that the wording of the contract is in terms of a "storage space"). But I'd be interested to know if anyone can suggest any ways of approaching this. Should we report the developer to the Council, to test whether they do in fact turn a blind eye to this sort of practice? If we don't do that, will we be complicit in the developer's strategy for bypassing council regulations about car parking, and therefore legally vulnerable ourselves? We also may run into trouble if/when we want to sell the apartment.

Many thanks for any suggestions or advice.
 
Smells super dodgy.

a. I wonder if the developer is also getting around supplying the minimum requirements for each apartment of a storage space. I don't know NSW laws but in WA you have to supply 4sqm for each apartment. So could they be double dipping on 'selling' you something that already should be part of your entitlements
b. Having car park like storage areas is just wrong. The council put limits on the number of car bays required and to go over usually requires compensation to the council for increased infrastructure use.
 
There has been a Qld case on this. What if your neighbours or the body corporate complain? You won't be able to sell it and describe it as a parking space.
 
Unless the developer supplies you with

1. a legal document clearly stating that you are receiving a car space
2. clear plandetailing the location and the dimensions
3. documentation that your solicitor is willing to accept

then do not proceed with the purchase of the storeroom.

Advise them in writing of your conversations with them noting dates and persons that you spoke with and the contrary advise from the local council.
 
This is why you don't use a conveyancer. I would quickly go and see a solicitor.

Car spaces have levies attached to them - or special taxes. This may be a way of trying to get around that.

Anyway, consider you do not have a car space as you won't. would this make the property worth less? car spaces probably worth around $50k or so
 
A mate of mine years ago bought an apartment with a 'car space'. It was certainly big enough for a car, but there was a column in the way preventing a car from getting into the space.
 
Contracts have already been exchanged.

I don't know if a cooling off period would apply.

Based on the storeroom being a car space from the communications with the developer. This needs to be documented in writing and followed up with their legal advisor.

As to the comment using not using a conveyancer, it depends on the experience of the person that you are using and whether they have any experience of your requirements regardless of whether they are a solicitor or a conveyancer.
 
As to the comment using not using a conveyancer, it depends on the experience of the person that you are using and whether they have any experience of your requirements regardless of whether they are a solicitor or a conveyancer.

Well, not really. The op needs legal advice which may need to cover the Australian consumer law - Aust competition and consumer act - something conveyancers cannot supply
 
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