Residential Focus: In the media, In practice and courts, Published articles, papers & reports, Cases and Legislation

Holding Redlich


Holding Redlich, a national commercial law firm with offices in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns, delivers tailored solutions with expert legal thinking and industry knowledge, prioritizing client partnerships.
This newsletter links to recent media releases, reports, cases and legislation relating to residential property.
Australia Real Estate and Construction
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In the media

House prices continue to rise as number of landlords increase
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows lending to investors – otherwise known as landlords – has jumped almost 20 per cent in the past year. Almost four in 10 people taking out a mortgage now are landlords. Mr Lawless suggested the increase in investors could potentially help to ease the rental crisis (2 April 2024). Read more here.

Higher density housing in western Sydney could be in store for your local shops as Minns chases deals with councils
The western Sydney suburbs set to skyrocket in population under a bold six-storey proposal to boost housing supply have been revealed. The "diverse and well-located homes" policy would seek to increase density around "town centres" – which could mean shopping strips with a supermarket and a few restaurants. The planning reforms by the NSW government would allow buildings up to six storeys within 400 metres of a town centre. Land within 800 metres of a town centre would be eligible for higher density housing, including terraces and two-storey apartment blocks (2 April 2024). Read more here.

What's the best way to ease rents and improve housing affordability? We modelled 4 of the government's biggest programs
Australian state and federal governments spend money in many ways to ease rental stress and get more Australians into home ownership. However, none can simultaneously lift affordability for renters, lift affordability for owners, get more Australians into home ownership, and boost economic efficiency (19 March 2024). Read more here.

'I'm home': how co-operative housing could take pressure off Australia's housing crisis
During Australia's housing crisis, little attention has been given to housing co-operatives. A housing co-op consists of a group of people (who meet certain criteria) who share in the management and running of their accommodation. While only a small provider of accommodation in Australia, new research reveals how developing the sector could relieve some of the pressure (15 March 2024). Read more here.

New home design mistake costing Aussies $700 a year in wasted energy
Aussie homeowners are falling for a home design trend that will cost them hundreds of dollars every year. Australian homeowners are wasting hundreds of dollars on energy bills because of darker-coloured rooves which absorb heat. New research from UNSW and Western Sydney suggests a darker-coloured roof could be driving up the power bills of Sydney homeowners by at least 38 per cent (1 April 2024). Read more here.

Australia's home values keep rising despite cost-of-living pressures
Australian home values have risen for a 14th consecutive month. Over March, values rose across most capital cities, but the size of the increase varied widely. In Melbourne growth was flat in March. Melbourne was also the only capital to record a negative quarterly movement, with values down 0.2 per cent in the first three months of the year (2 April 2024). Read more here.

Granny flat fever
In space-constrained capital cities, building a well-designed granny flat could provide respite to an already hot housing market. On current trajectories, the federal government isn't seeing its housing targets met. As such, small secondary dwellings, more commonly known as backyard granny flats, have received attention amid the housing conundrum (22 March 2024). Read more here.

Shifting the tide
The housing industry has received a range of negative stories directed our way over the past 12 months. These stories tell only one side of the story, rather than highlighting all the fantastic work our industry does. It's time to shift this narrative and embrace the positive (22 March 2024). Read more here.

Looking ahead
There are an array of reforms and proposed changes on the go, and the HIA has released their submission to the Federal Budget. There key initiatives aim to advocate for greater support for the residential building and to grow and bolster the sector (24 March 2024). Read more here.

Applications now open for $500 million Housing Support Program
Stream 1 of the Australian Government's $500 million Housing Support Program is now accepting applications from state, territory or local government for planning capability projects that will bolster much-needed housing supply. Projects must demonstrate how they will align with planning, zoning and regulatory reforms through National Cabinet's National Planning Reform Blueprint, land-use planning for disaster resilience and the aims of the National Housing Accord (27 March 2024). Read more here.

Finding Australia's Missing Tradies
The building and construction industry needs more workers if we are going to build 1.2 million homes over the next five years, says Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn. Master Builders Australia has made recommendations to help migrants navigate complex and unnecessary barriers to work in the industry. Migrant workers are the key to ease the domestic workforce which cannot keep up with the building and construction industry's demand (27 March 2024). Read more here.

Capital city growth the highest on record
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has recorded the population of Australia's capital cities grew over 500,000 in the year ending June 2023. Beidar Cho, ABS head of demography explains this is "largely driven by net overseas migration" (26 March 2024). Read more here.

In practice and courts

Designing the Central West Recovery Housing Program – Have Your Say
The 2022 flood events were devastating to communities in the Central West region and those communities are still on the recovery journey. The NSW Government has committed $40 million to design and implement a housing program for those who were impacted by the floods. We would like you to share your experience of the floods and your ideas on what type of options you want to see included in the housing program. Consultation period open until 30 April 2024. Read more here.

NSW pushes for more funding amid housing and homelessness crisis
The Housing and Homelessness Ministerial Council will meet today to discuss the Commonwealth's contribution to the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement. The NSW Government stands ready to work with the Commonwealth as an equal partner but funding trends over the last 10 years need to be turned around if that hope is to become a reality (25 March 2024). Read more here.

Published – articles, papers, reports

Engineering Construction Activity, Australia – ABS Report
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has published its latest release of Engineering Construction Activity in Australia. It contains value of engineering construction work done, commenced and yet to be done, for the December 2023 period. 27 March 2024 Release. Read more here.


McDonald v MAK Constructions and Building Services Pty Ltd [2024] NSWCA 63
CIVIL PROCEDURE – stay of proceedings – whether the home owner's proceedings claiming damages should be stayed until payment of the judgment debt in favour of the builder obtained by filing an adjudication certificate under s 25 of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) (SOP Act) – operation and effect of s 32 of the SOP Act – whether the home owner's proceedings are properly characterised as a "cross-claim" for the purposes of Pt 3 of the SOP Act – where the primary judge failed to consider the strength of the home owner's case – where the builder has delayed in enforcing the judgment debt.
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION – contract – damages – need to reconcile the policy of the SOP Act that a builder should receive progress payments promptly with the preservation of common law rights in s 32 of that Act.
Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW) ss 3, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17-25, 32; Commercial Arbitration Act 2010 (NSW) s 47; Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) s 459H; Home Building Act 1989 (NSW); Supreme Court Act 1970 (NSW) s 23.

Delt Constructions Pty Ltd ABN 49604204015 v Able Business Pty Ltd ACN 246456948 & Anor [2024] NSWDC 91
COSTS – where plaintiff achieved overall success – whether presumption in favour of costs following the event should be departed from in whole or part.
Home Building Act 1989 (NSW); Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW).

PJ Cook Building Pty Ltd v Reid [2024] NSWCATAP 45
APPEALS – building and construction – statutory warranties – onus of proof – no issue of principle – no error of fact.
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW), ss 80, 81, Sch 4, cl 12(1); Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), s 18B.

Coulter v Bush; Coulter v Domain Residential Northern Beaches Pty Ltd [2024] NSWSC 267
TORT – CONSUMER LAW – Civil Liability Act 2002 Part 1A, Part 4 – Australian Consumer Law s 60 – duty of care – negligence – where an employee of the real estate agent retained by the owner of a house causes a fire and the house burns down – claim by tenants and occupiers for damages for the loss of personal property in the house and by the owner for damages for the loss of the house – claim by the owner that the real estate agent breached the warranty given in s 60 of ACL to render services with due care and skill – whether the real estate agent caused the fire and acted negligently and without due care and skill – liability established.
Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW); Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).


Bills assented to by Government

Environmental Legislation Amendment (Hazardous Chemicals) Bill 2024 – Act No 10 of 2024 – assented to on 25 Mar 2024

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

Residential Focus: In the media, In practice and courts, Published articles, papers & reports, Cases and Legislation

Australia Real Estate and Construction


Holding Redlich, a national commercial law firm with offices in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns, delivers tailored solutions with expert legal thinking and industry knowledge, prioritizing client partnerships.
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