What Is a Dilapidation Report And Why Would You Need One?

A dilapidation report is an important document that provides a detailed assessment of the current condition of a property. Usually it is for a property in close proximity to a building site. When you are building or renovating getting a dilapidation report done can help protect you from expensive legal issues down the track. Here’s what you need to know about dilapidation reports and why it’s a good idea to get one before building property in Sydney.

What Is a Dilapidation Report?

A dilapidation report is a comprehensive inspection and documentation of the condition of a property as of the date of the inspection. It provides detailed descriptions and photographs of the property’s walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, roof and other structures. The report will identify existing damage, wear and tear, defects and maintenance issues. It serves as an accurate record of the property’s condition at the time of inspection.

Dilapidation reports are commonly required in strata properties if a unit owner is carrying out renovations or building work. It is the body corps responsibilty to ensure common area structures are nopt damaged. Dilapidation reports may also be requested on Torrens title properties, especially by developers planning construction next door.

The Scope of a Dilapidation Report

A comprehensive dilapidation report will include:

A thorough interior and exterior inspection, typically taking 1-2 hours
Written descriptions and photographic evidence detailing the condition of surfaces, fixtures and structures
Notes on cracking, damp, movement, leaks and weathering
Commentary on necessary repairs and potential problems
An assessment of whether observed damage is of a cosmetic, structural or urgent nature
The report covers items such as:

Walls, ceilings, floors – noted cracks, holes, leaking, damp, sagging
Doors, windows – function, cracks, locks, seals
Laundry, utility areas – plumbing, taps, drainage
Roof, guttering – condition, leaks, waterproofing
External structures – condition of brickwork, timber, fencing

Why Get a Dilapidation Report?

When buying property in Sydney, there are a few good reasons to invest in a dilapidation report:

Protect Your Investment – Identify existing issues early: Catching defects and damage early allows you to factor in repair costs and avoid nasty surprises later. You can also use the dilapidation report as evidence if taking action against previous owners.

Inform Repairs and Renovations: The report gives you an overview of priorities for maintenance, so you can budget and plan accordingly. Knowing the current condition of the property also informs decisions if you are planning renovations.

Fulfill Strata Requirements: Most apartment buildings in Sydney require new owners to obtain a report from an independent inspector. The strata committee will compare your report to the last one on file to identify potential damage.

Compare Reports Over Time: Holding onto the report provides a helpful comparison when you go to sell. Any damage or deterioration that occurred under your ownership will be evident.

Understand Scope of Ownership: Identifying defects on common property, assets owned by strata, or issues originating in neighboring lots clarifies the scope of repairs you are responsible for as the owner.

Provide Disclosure: The report provides full disclosure of property condition to new owners if selling. New buyers appreciate transparency, and it reduces risk of disputes.

Overall, investing in a professional dilapidation report from the outset provides peace of mind. It empowers you to proactively maintain your valuable asset and prepares you for obligations as an owner.

What to Look for in a Dilapidation Report

When reviewing dilapidation reports, look for:

Level of Detail: There should be thorough written descriptions of each area, supported by multiple clear photographs.
Clarity: The inspector’s language should be precise and findings easy to understand, including distinguishing between defects of a cosmetic or structural nature.

Objectivity & Independence: Reports completed for selling agents may be biased, so seek an independent expert.
Recommendations: Actionable and practical advice for maintenance and repairs adds value.
Credentials: Check inspectors have qualifications, licences, insurance and industry memberships. Look for a minimum of 10 years experience.

If the report will be used for a development application or court proceedings, using a qualified engineer rather than property inspector is advisable.

Choosing a Dilapidation Report Service in Sydney

Look for an established company who will provide an expert, independent and impartial dilapidation inspection report. When engaging a property inspection service, ensure:

Fully qualified and experienced inspectors: Look for RABQSA, AIBS or API memberships.
Specialist dilapidation expertise: This requires more time and skill than standard pre-purchase building inspections.
High resolution photography: Detailed photographic evidence is key.

Clear, actionable reports: Easy to understand findings and practical recommendations.
Thorough inspection process: At least 2-3 hours onsite covering all internal and external areas.
Timely turnaround: Most reports are delivered within 48 hours.

Additional services: Some providers also offer asbestos and pest inspections for more complete due diligence.
Insurance: Inspector should have appropriate professional indemnity and public liability cover.
Competitive, fixed quotes: Costs vary based on property size but $450-$700 is typical for a standard strata unit.

Buying property in Sydney takes careful planning and preparation. Investing in a professional dilapidation report provides both protection for your purchase and peace of mind. Partnering with a trusted and experienced property inspection company like Inner West Property Inspections will help ensure you gain a thorough, independent report assessing the true condition of the property prior to purchase.