The higher yield from approving small apartments means more ratepayers for Council and higher profits for developers.

98/1 Bedrooms  602 Doncaster Road Click to enlarge

98/1 Bedroom apts
602 Doncaster Road
Click to enlarge photos

The majority of the Manningham permit application reports indicate that council is allowing at least 40% of the total number of apartments in major high rise buildings to have only one bedroom. These buildings appear to be targeting the lower end of the market by the provision of very small one bedders ranging in size from a minimum of 43 sq m to an average maximum of 50 sq m. One building had 75 one bedroom apartments no larger than 44 sq m.

According to research, the proportion of one bedroom apartments was once only 10%. It is now

Area Comparisonsfour times that at 40% and three or more bedroom stock is less than 5%. One bedroom apartments used to be 70 m2 but are now 50 m2 or less. Many of Doncaster Hill’s apartments (Gun Barrel) are accessed from a single corridor, are very narrow,  have no window to the bedroom and kitchens are often located in hallways.

A high number of one bedroom apartments in a building does not necessarily mean more residents you might think,  however students and couples are taking out leases and then sub-letting to other parties, no doubt making a profit themselves. It is becoming a racket with a wall of silence around it as long as the money comes in.  If there is no policy on overcrowding then it is time we introduced one. How they monitor it, given privacy issues, is another matter. They need proper evidence, and this is where the Real Estate person comes in. The considerable water usage in some of these small apartments is also an indicator and can be measured, but who can be bothered? Also excessive amounts of garbage is another tell-tale indication.

Excerpt from Age article by Aisha Dow;

AGE  photo shows illegal renting of apartments Click to enlarge

AGE photo shows illegal renting of apartments
Click to enlarge

It is illegal for apartments to be separately rented to more than three people without being a registered rooming house, but units shared with up to seven people are freely advertised on online classified websites such as Gumtree.

In Docklands, six girls are squeezed into a one-bedroom apartment, with four in the bedroom and two in the living room.

They each pay $140 a week, meaning the landlord is able to earn up to $43,000 a year, potentially doubling their profit in an area where the median annual rent is just over $22,000. In a Russell Place tower, three people are being asked for $99 per week to share a lounge room. Many of the listings ask for Asian housemates only due to “living culture”. Click on link below for full article

Age on Illegal Renting

Another problem is the non payment of owners corporation fees especially when the owner is an overseas investor and cannot be contacted. They can be recovered in due course but it becomes a problem when items of maintenance can’t be funded.


  1. Disgruntled says:

    These high rise slums are a total disgrace to our city planners and it is only a matter of time before it happens here on Doncaster Hill. Why is Manningham Council making the same mistakes as Melbourne. We used to be the worlds most liveable city.

    1. Talford says:

      Illegal overcrowding of apartments is already happening in Box Hill and I guess it will occur in Doncaster when all the apartment towers are built. What might work as a deterrent is our lack of infrastructure, particularly in regard to employment and public transport. Box Hill, by comparison has a large variety of industries and is serviced by three modes of transport.

      1. whittens says:

        There is no doubt that the number of people sharing apartments has been increasing since the early 2000’s due to the spiralling costs of real estate which is creating slum like conditions, particularly in the small units.
        The Doncaster Hill. high density strategy was regarded by its city designers as the “jewel in the crown” of their Activity Centre plan and was “an ideal area to raise a family”, they said. How can they say that when nearly half the number of apartments being built are tiny one bedroom units with many falling below the standards of other the major western cities. (New York and Sydney for example).

  2. Dalray says:

    As far as I know there are no regulations, governing the minimum size of apartments in Victoria. Manningham council could well have prescribed one in their policy document but they did not. While developers could have successfully challenged at Vcat, it would not have been in their best interests to have done so. However they need not have worried as Manningham council were all too willing to allow open slather on their number and size. It has been suggested that a minimum size of 55 sq m (6 squares) for one bedrooms, 65 sq m (7 squares) for two and 75 sq m (8 squares) for three bedrooms apartments should have been adopted if Manningham had any regard for the health and well being of the families who will occupy them.

  3. Beryl says:


    Barry Humphries was pessimistic about his effectiveness as an objector to overdevelopment when interviewed by the Herald Sun.

    “I know from experience that when we hear about these monstrosities, a deal has already been struck with council. I am therefore withdrawing from any participation in conservation activity in Melbourne”

    “I don’t have the money the developers have”.

    “The suburbs of my home town grow more hideous by the day and I must accept the triumph of greed over grace”.

  4. Stuck Here says:

    In our apartment building, the “Pinnacle” on Doncaster Hill, there are seventy (70) one bedroom apartments out of a total of one hundred and fifty six (156, which is more than 45%. They are long and narrow and have only one window which is located to the family/kitchen area. How do I know? Because we live in one. Even though we bought our apartment more than four years ago we are still unable get the price we paid on the local market.
    Stuck Here

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