A website is developing some traction that is designed to expose the worst property developers and builders.
The site is called Unlock Property and there are calls in the industry for property developers to support the site by blowing the whistle on bad builders.
Website founder Kevin Reeve spoke to Domain.
“We know there are people out there getting ripped off by dodgy developers and builders, and they get away with a lot,” he said.
“We want to expose them and make them accountable, and also highlight the good developers and builders.”
The website operates by users giving properties and developers a rating based on consumer feedback.
Mr Reeve says he hopes the reputable developers embrace the idea and start to speak up about some of the poor practices and standards of dodgy operators.
“The next part of our business plan is to start approaching builders and developers to see if they want to be proactive to answer reviews, for a membership fee of $99 a month” he told Domain.
“We see it as the Trip Advisor for the property market. Every review is independent; some are quite critical, some are very positive and some aren’t very helpful.”
“There’s a broad range. We want to get a volume of reviews on there. They’ll allow some developers to stand out as good ones, and raise red flags about others.”
Oakstand Property Group’s David Cullen loves the idea.
“That’s a powerful tool and to have something like that in the property industry would be a great thing,” he told Domain.
“If you genuinely design apartments for consumers, rather than try to get as much density as possible into a site, then you’ll get good reviews.”
“If buyers aren’t happy, then you won’t get rated well.”
“We would welcome that system. There’s no way currently to benchmark or rate developments and for consumers to voice their genuine opinions.”
“A lot of developers sell off the plan and promise quality but it’s not there at the finish. It will be great for consumers, who thought they were getting X but ended up with Y, to voice their opinion.”
Mr Reeve says they are trying hard to make sure the reviews are independent and real.
“It’s hard to stop people rorting the system, but we’re determined to try,” he said.
“We work hard to identify people putting up reviews to try to make sure they’re independent. We check the addresses and each person is only allowed one review.”
Karen Stiles from Owners Corporation Network also expressed her support for the idea to Domain.
“This is a fantastic initiative which will empower purchasers to make better choices,” she said.
“My heart goes out to the thousands of people whose lives have been ruined by buying into defective buildings.”
“Until the government legislates that builders have a statutory duty of care to owners, this is a great start on providing consumer protection.”