Opal Tower unit owners class action
Opal Tower unit owners have launched a class action in the Supreme Court of NSW against Sydney Olympic Park Authority (the Authority), a NSW Government body which owned the land on which the Opal Tower was built.
Claim against the Authority
The unit owners' action is based upon the contention that:
- the Authority is deemed to be a developer within the meaning of the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (the Act), as the Authority was the owner of the land on which the Opal Tower was built and retained ownership of a number of lots
- thereby the Authority owes to the unit owners the statutory warranties implied under the Act
- the Authority is in breach of the statutory warranties, namely that the Opal Tower was not reasonably fit for occupation and was not built in accordance with the plans and specifications.
Unconventionally, the developer 'Ecove' and its contracted builder 'Icon' of the Opal Tower are not being pursued by the unit owners in the proceedings, the unit owners apparently preferring the deep pockets of a government entity. It will not be surprising if Ecove and Icon are involved through cross claims.
What's at stake?
The unit owners are seeking to recover a significant losses for, amongst other things:
- the costs incurred by the owners for alternative accommodation from Christmas Eve last year, being the day the owners were forcefully evacuated when significant structural damages on the beam of levels four and 10 were discovered
- the diminution in property and rental value, particularly for the units that remain unsaleable and unlettable due to the reputational damage. This has been measured by the difference in pre-defect value and current market value
- loss of rental income for the units which are tenanted.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has commented that "full weight of the law will be applied if anyone is found to have done the wrong thing".
Should the unit owners be successful in their action, any judgment against the Authority will be paid from public funds.
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