Before starting a home renovation project regardless of its scope, it is a must for homeowners to know the legalities involved. Failure to do so can mean trouble. It could mean your renovation being stopped or pulled down.
To start with, do check your local council for any approvals that may be required for a home renovation. Do keep in mind that certain minor structures may need building approval such as those involving carports, fencing, decking and garden sheds. Even a minor task such as removing a tree from your property will need council approval. Alterations to services such as plumbing, drainage, electrical and gas do require approval and inspection although they may not need planning or building approval.
When neighbours are bound to be impacted by the home renovation works whether involving structures or noise, development approval is needed. For this purpose, a homeowner will need to submit a development application to the Council to carry out renovation works.
In addition to the structures, homeowners should also be aware that the work and materials still need to meet government standards.
In the event approvals are needed for your home renovation project, a council planner will advise you of the process and the documents you will need to accomplish.
Take note that most local governments have planning policies in place that allow minor changes in a home’s interior and exterior. Normally, changes that don’t alter the structure or services do not need council approval.
As for the tradespeople, homeowners may need to have a simple contract with them that details the scope of work, cost of labour and any warranty. You can ask for referrals and make sure to check their credentials such as licence and insurance policies.
With regards to tax, a renovation project has no direct tax implications. This covers income and capital gains tax. In the event you sell your main residence, it will also be exempt from capital gains tax. This includes the improvements made on the property and the land adjacent to the house as long as the total area is two hectares or less.
Keep in mind that building requirements when renovating your home need to be strictly followed. Failure to do so could end up in fines of up to $70,000. Be wary also of the value of your renovation project. In Victoria, for example, renovators have to apply for consent to carry out works as an owner-builder if costs exceed $12,000.