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Floor plan error in $420 unit sparks heated debate: 'Desperate for a home'

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An error on the floor plan of a Melbourne unit has sparked a debate over a controversial question – what makes a bedroom a bedroom?

The listing, in Highett, southeast of the CBD, advertises a two-bedroom unit for $420 a week – lower than the suburb’s average of $460 per week.

And while the lower price point and the unit’s huge balcony could be considered attractive qualities for potential tenants, the floor plan instead left many confused.

A floor plan showing the second bedroom of a Melbourne unit listed as a storeroom.
The apartment's floor plan only lists one room as a bedroom. Source: Craig

While the real estate’s write-up mentions two bedrooms, both with built-in wardrobes, the floor plan only lists one room as a bedroom.

“Do we put a tent up on the alfresco or a bed in the 2x2?” a viewer wrote, sharing the image to Reddit. "Sucks how they get away with this but we’re all so desperate just to have a home," they later added.

The post quickly attracted hundreds of comments, with many guessing the ‘storeroom’ was in fact the second bedroom.

“Ah Melbourne, where a windowless 'store' with a cupboard in it can be readily advertised as a bedroom,” one person commented. “Also where the entire ground area of the alfresco is more than the combined indoor living space.”

Real estate agent confirms second bedroom

Leasing consultant Guy Fredman, from Jellis Craig Real Estate, confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that the apartment “definitely” has two bedrooms – but the floor plan was labelled incorrectly.

“There’s definitely two bedrooms. It is a nice little apartment, it's got a massive outdoor area,” he said. “The floor plan is right the way it’s laid out but it’s not labelled correctly.”

The size of the second bedroom is listed as 2.5m x 2.1m – which had many questioning the rules around the minimum sizing requirements.

Interestingly, another apartment in the same block is listed as a 3-bedroom apartment, with the third bedroom measuring even smaller at 2.1m x 2.1m.

Is there a minimum requirement for bedrooms?

A spokesperson for the Victorian Government told Yahoo News Australia residents have the right to live in well-designed homes and developers must comply with certain guidelines.

"Our homes are the places we should feel most comfortable and as more Victorians choose apartment living, they deserve high-quality and well-designed homes," the spokesperson said.

"We aim to give the industry the tools and resources it needs to avoid poorly designed homes that lack space, light and ventilation – which is why we’ve created the Better Apartment Design Standards and Future Homes."

According to the Design Standards, main bedrooms should be a minimum of 3-metres wide by 3.4-metres deep, while all other bedrooms should at least measure 3m x 3m. There should also be an additional area for a wardrobe.

Bedrooms that have no windows, no access to natural light or external fresh air are no longer permitted.

The National Construction Code says all 'habitable' rooms (bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens etc) must have ceilings at least 2.4m high.

Are the guidelines enforceable?

Yahoo News understands that making false or misleading representations about the size of a bedroom in a rental is prohibited by law and enforced by Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Penalties also apply if a developer builds a home or apartment that is inconsistent with approved plans and permits.

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