Estate covenants, the silver lining

Date Released - October 12, 2015.

“Estate covenants are designed to ensure the high standard of our estates and work to protect buyers’ investments,” said QM Properties Covenant’s Manager Carolyn Schofield.

Since the era of masterplanned residential estates, the concept of design guidelines or covenants, has grown to be an integral part of the package of modern developments.

As one of the larger developers in South-East Queensland, QM Properties ensures that there are quality development guidelines for each of their communities.

The QM Properties Covenant Department’s consultants are charged with the responsibility to manage them and more importantly to assist buyers in realising their dream home.

Carolyn Schofield, the Covenants Department Manager and has close to 40 years’ experience in the building industry and has a passion for good design and architecture.

“Covenants are not the design police, but just a way to protect the community in a development” said Carolyn

“They work to protect the buyers’ investment and deliver a beautiful environment.”

The covenant generally covers standards like types of fencing, landscaping and external structures.

“The covenants vary from estate to estate, so development standards within a waterfront development like Pacific Harbour will differ from an acreage or Residential A” she said

“A five bay shed is quite appropriate on an acreage development but imagine if you lived on a canal at Pacific Harbour and your neighbour wanted to put one up!” said Carolyn

“Covenants only cover external elements like dwelling size and sustainability elements, so if you want bright red internal walls and a bath in the shape of the swan then go for it.”

When reviewing proposed plans, QM Properties covenants consultants consider whether the planned construction or landscaping will work to maintain the high standard of streetscapes that can be seen throughout QM’s estates.

Carolyn says that most people see the value of covenants and happily sign an agreement to comply on purchase of the land.

“We work closely with our clients on a consultative basis to ensure that outcomes are mutually beneficial,” she said.

“A recent example is buyer at one of our acreage communities who wanted high fencing all around their recently purchased corner block.”

“I consulted with them and suggested that they break it up with evergreen hedging which they agreed to, and it will look much better than just a high fence with little street appeal.”

Front fences, bin storage at the front and open carports are discouraged as they do not harmoniously integrate with the attractive streetscapes.

“We have seen examples in neighbouring estates, where carports are used as storage, which would be fine in the garage, but exposed to the street does not look appealing.”

The covenant ensures that properties within an estate will all be of the same standard. When a buyer invests time, money and effort into building their dream home or investment property, the last thing they want is to see their neighbour building a type of house that will devalue their property.