How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Leon Your Own Question
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 44893
Experience:  BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
Type Your Australia Law Question Here...
Leon is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I own a highset queenslander house in Brisbane Australia. Downstairs

Customer Question

I own a highset queenslander house in Brisbane Australia. Downstairs is NOT legal height but it is all built in with 2 bedrooms,shower,toilet,kitchenet,laundry etc. Can I rent the downtairs part of the house that is not legal height but is very close to legal height.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Leon replied 8 years ago.
there is no law that says you cannot rent it out.
Any tenant that decides to accept the place will do so knowing what they are renting.
The issue is if the local council gets wind of the downstairs not being legal and not having approved it they can issue fines and also request that it be demolished.
You also need to ensure that you are able to have 2 dwellings in the one house. If you are not again if council gets wind of it they can fine you and issue a notice for you to reinstate it as one house.
I hope this is of assistance and if so please click on the accept button
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

What or how much is the fine. If there is a tenant renting a dwelling that is not of legal height and there is a fire. will the insurance cover it?


Also, if the tenant injures him/herself due to some fqault in the dwelling can they still sue the landlord.


Can I get the tenant to sign an agreement stating that they are aware of the specifications of the dwelling and they waive any such responsilities/liabilities to the landloard.

Expert:  Leon replied 8 years ago.
The insurance will cover the building that should not be an issue.
If the injury is caused by the landlords negligent he can sue the landlord.
In the agreement you disclose the specifications and then they cannot say that they did not know if the probelm
I hope this is of assistance and if so please click on the accept button
Leon and 2 other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.



Even though as a cursity I have accepted this so you can get your money, Iam not satisfied with you answer.


I was expecting you to tell to what warning, fines and penalties I should expect from Brisbane City council. Does it just give a warning and ask me to vacate the extra rental spaces and only use the property as one dwelling or just comes forward and issue a heavy fine?


You asnwer is very general and does not give the confidence to rent my place as there are a lot of unknowns here.

Expert:  Leon replied 8 years ago.
The penatlies and fines vary from state to state and depending on what offence they charge you with.
As a guide in New South Wales the fine for having an illegal structure is $1,500.00 and the Council can issue a demolition order to have ti removed.
If you failed to demolish in set time they can take you to court and get an order for them to demolish and you pay the costs.
If they discover that the premises are illegal they usually give you 28 days from the date of the Notice to comply with their request. Of you fail to do sop then they will issue the fine and advise you that they may commence proceedings.
The rental is a minor issue.
Renting the place out will not impact on what the Council can do.
In New South Wales there are large numbers of Garages that have been illegally transformed into granny flats and rented out.
They are all illegal structures as they were not built for living in but they are occupied.
When councils discover the use they issue notices asking the owners of the property to cease the use and to put them back to their standard use. When the owners do not comply they fine them and get orders to reinstate them back to garages at the expense of the owners.
In your case the same would apply. I cannot guarantee whether the council will find out and then issue you with a notice.
The height of the ceiling will not impact on the rental.
if the tenant is injured while on the property you could be liable depending on how you contributed to the injuries. This is not dependant on the legality of the structure.
For building insurance you insure the building for replacement costs. I assume that the area you wish to rent would have no problem being used a storage. Your building would be covered for what it is. A house with storage underneath.
Generally in homes you cannot have 2 kitchens under council regulations unless you have an developemt application for 2 homes to be built on the same lot.
No matter how you view it what you have is an illegal structure because it does not have approval.
Your risks are that if the Council discovers the sturcture they can ask you to change it back to its original use. Your failure to do so will lead to a fine.
I hope this is of assistance.