Father left with 'HALF a house' hits back at builder's response

Father left with ‘HALF a house’ claims he was never told of the drastic design change to his $700k dream home

  • Bishnu Aryal saved for a decade to buy land and build his young family a home 
  • The original agreement was for a free-standing home but he got half-duplex
  • ZAC Homes say they’re not to blame – rather certifier and local council at fault
  • The father said he did not look at the new plans before sending them to the bank

A father who was left with ‘half a house’ in a bungled duplex build claims he was never the plans were suddenly changed.

Bishnu Aryal hit back at builder Zac Homes after it failed to take responsibility for the disastrous southwest Sydney development.

The mortgage broker moved to Australia from Nepal and saved diligently for a decade to buy a plot of land in Edmondson Park for $398,000.

The father-of-two signed a building agreement with Zac Homes in 2016 for a custom off-plan build, which set him back a further $322,000.

The building company behind a bungled duplex have taken to social media refusing to take responbility and blaming the council for the situation – despite the homeowner being left with ‘half a house’

Zac Homes said the plan when construction began was to build a free-standing house on the block, but claimed Liverpool Council later said Mr Aryal’s block had to be an attached building.

The construction company also said he had multiple opportunities to pull out of the agreement.

But Mr Aryal on Thursday countered its claims, alleging he was never made aware of the modifications to the building plan.

‘I was not given any notice of the change,’ he wrote on Facebook.

Mr Aryal also claimed he was only offered the chance to pull out of the contract during the land registration process when the lot turned out to be smaller than first thought.

‘During land registration our land was 10sqm less so we were given opportunity to rescind or discount,’ he continued.

‘So we take [sic] discount from the developer not from builder but our conveyancer didn’t mention anything about change in the plan. Also he was not made aware of change in the building plan.’

Mr Aryal admitted he trusted the process and did not look at the new plans for half a duplex when they were sent over, and instead forwarded them to the bank.

Mr Aryal’s home standing among a range of free-standing homes. He says he did not know the building plans changed

Bishnu Aryal (pictured) standing outside his unusual property in Edmondson Park, south-west Sydney

Zac Homes addressed the situation through its Facebook page on Tuesday, saying the situation ‘hasn’t been caused by us’ and blamed Liverpool City Council. 

‘The disagreement that’s causing the hold-up is between the certifier and Liverpool City Council and we’re working hard with them both to try and rectify the situation as quickly as possible,’ it wrote.

‘It’s a mess. We know that. Even though this situation hasn’t been caused by us, we are doing what we can to ensure that the right thing is done by Mr Aryal and his family. We feel for them.’   

Rather than having another building attached to the side, like with a regular duplex, the lot sits empty – giving the Aryal family home an unfinished look, with startled passersby even stopping to take pictures of it.

‘I called the supervisor and asked him what’s going on, why is the house like this? And he said ‘it’s a duplex, semi-duplex’, and I nearly fainted that day,’ Mr Aryal told A Current Affair on Monday night. 

Bishnu Aryal and his wife (pictured). Mr Aryal moved to Australia from Nepal for a new life

Zac Homes claim the dispute is the result of a conflict between Liverpool City Council, the certifier and the neighbours refusing to proceed with building their own home. 

‘The fact is the owners of the lot next door have failed to proceed with building their home and that’s why the certifier has continued to refuse to issue an Occupation Certificate,’ the building company said.

They also say they’ve waived a large fee for Mr Aryal as an offering of good faith. 

‘We’ve done all we can. We are conducting on-site meetings with the Certifier, making representations to Council, and we’ve lodged a complaint to Fair Trading NSW,’ Zac Homes posted on Facebook.

‘To help alleviate some of their stress we’re deferring the final payment and we’ve waived a fee of 23 thousand dollars.’

Mr Aryal said although his English isn’t perfect, he definitely did not sign up to have half a house.

One side of the house is a grey and windowless wall where the other half of the building looks like it should be.

Mr Aryal (pictured) had to move in during Covid because his wife was pregnant and they had nowhere to go and he was losing work

‘Where’s my house?’ he asked A Current Affair on Monday night. ‘I want the rest of my house.’  

‘It’s not a free-standing house, it’s not a duplex, it’s half a house. And it looks embarrassing.’ 

Neighbour Muhammad described the home as a ‘pretty ugly’.

‘A lot of people are always taking photos on the street. They think it looks pretty ugly.’

Mr Aryal had to move in during Covid because his wife was pregnant and they had nowhere to go after he began losing work, but says he’s been waiting nine months for an occupation certificate – which authorises the use of a new building.

A spokesman for Zac Homes told the program it had done everything it could to secure an occupation certificate and has been trying for months to get it signed off.

It said the certifier and the council are at a crossroads because the council wants the other half of the duplex built.

A Current Affair said the estate had a lot of duplexes built on half-blocks of land, but many seemed to be unoccupied

A spokesman said the company ‘appreciates the frustrations of Mr and Mrs Aryal surrounding the delay in the issue of the Occupation Certificate, these delays are not caused by Zac Homes.’

‘Instead, Zac Homes has worked diligently and at its own cost to attempt to remedy the outstanding matters so that the Occupation Certificate can issue,’ it said.

Property expert Michael Pallier said the land will go up in value, but the building itself is likely to depreciate.

‘It might actually get the point where the house is a liability and it’ll cost money to take the house down for someone to buy the land and build a free-standing home with doors and windows,’ he said.

He urged anyone buying a home to ensure a solicitor looks at the documentation before they sign.

Mr Aryal said he wants to raise awareness to make sure no one has to deal with the same thing. 

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