Problem[ edit ] The main physical problem is water infiltrating into the exterior building envelope walls and roofs of buildings, usually through a weather barrier e. However, problems in design, installation, and damage during construction can allow water to penetrate the walls. The construction failures ranged from minor to major failure of the structural integrity of the building. Some buildings became unhealthy to occupants. Most of these buildings are low-rise, story buildings constructed of wood-frame construction, as well as some with steel, concrete, and metal stud construction types, including highrises. Typical repair costs are in the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, resulting in significant hardship, bankruptcies, and lawsuits against the developers, contractors, architects, and others involved in the original construction and maintenance of the buildings.
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Question: Our hardwood floors have suffered major water damage due to common property defects. Should the Body corporate reimburse out of pocket expenses for accommodation and food while we vacate the property for repairs?
We have had major water damage occur to a hardwood floor laid on battens on a slab as part of the original build in a 10 year old NSW town house complex. The hardwood floors are recognized as Body Corporate responsibility as the damage is due to common property defects.
For reasons too convoluted to go into, insurance is refusing to pay out. Body corporate are willing to pay for the repair, though I will need to vacate my property for at least a week while the floor is replaced. Does Body corporate have an obligation to reimburse me for out of pocket expenses to house and feed my family for a week while we vacate the property for repairs? Answer: The accommodation should be recoverable, but it is unlikely that the costs of food etc would be reimbursed.
If the water ingress can be construed as a failure on the part of the owners corporation to properly repair and maintain the common property, then under Section 5 of the Strata Schemes Management Act NSW : 5 An owner of a lot in a strata scheme may recover from the owners corporation, as damages for breach of statutory duty, any reasonably foreseeable loss suffered by the owner as a result of a contravention of this section by the owners corporation.
If the above clause is applicable, in our view, the accommodation should be recoverable, but it is unlikely that the costs of feeding etc would be, given that you must feed your family wherever you live ie the requirement to feed your family has not arisen because of any breach of the owners corporation.
Bearing in mind too, that you must mitigate your losses, so rather than stay at eg a 5-star hotel and eat room service every night, we recommend you find a serviced apartment of similar quality in the vicinity of your existing apartment.
This post appears in Strata News Should the Owners Corporation be responsible for all repairs, as these are only needed due to common property defects? Our bathroom is the original bathroom and the waterproofing membrane has failed and is causing damage to the lot below.
The repairs are only needed due to the common property defects and so the Owners Corporation can maintain the common property membrane. Is this correct?
The current bathroom is tiled in marble and we have even advised we will accept a standard white tile instead of requiring the like for like marble tiles, as this will keep the cost lower.
What bylaw or part of the legislation would we be able to quote in regards to this? Who is responsible? The property is about years old. Answer: There is a very similar strata titles case.
There is a case where water had leaked into two lots below another lot so the owners corporation removed two rows of tiles to effect membrane repairs. The owners corporation was insistent that its obligations extended only to replacement of the 2 rows of titles it had removed. The Owner, however, wanted his entire balcony retiled. An Adjudicator ordered that the owners corporation had to retile with tiles that matched as closely as possible in appearance and value so as not to detract from the appearance of the balcony floor or negatively impact on the value of the lot.
Further, if reasonably matching tiles were not available and those non-matching tiles might detract from the appearance of the lot, the owners corporation was to retile the whole balcony.
Question: Due to a common property defect, my tiles were damaged in an area on my verandah. As the tiles could not be matched, the whole space must be retiled. Should the OC pay for all work? My veranda incorporates a steel post which structurally supports the roof above. The water resulting inside the post eventually rusted the base of the post and, destabilised the tiles and tile bed. In fixing this common property defect, the tiles could not be matched therefore the veranda had to be retiled.
The Strata management advised that this was not their responsibility even though the damage was consequential to the defective pipe and only required replacement due to damage caused by the common property defect. The strata manager said that they may be responsible for the portion of the tiles that were damaged by the pipe but not the whole retiling job.
I note again that the tiles could not be matched so there was no alternative other than full replacement. Can you advise my rights to recover costs? Answer: There is a strata titles case very similar to yours. The lot owner now wants the owners corporation to pay for a new kitchen. Who is responsible for a kitchen in a unit?
The original kitchen was 30 years old! Where do we stand? Answer: The Owners Corporation would need to address concrete cancer and then reinstate the kitchen with like for like. It sounds like the kitchen is original. Subject to any by-laws applicable to the scheme and any notations on the strata plan, the general position is that the floor tiles, any membrane and the structure of the concrete slab are all common property, and, therefore, the responsibility of the Owners Corporation.
The Owners Corporation would need to address concrete cancer and then reinstate the kitchen with like for like. Any upgrade or superior finishes would be at the cost of the individual lot owner.
What are the responsibilities of Strata Committee members in relation to maintenance work? Is this allowed? Who has the right to view the bathroom in question? All lot owners, or just the Strata Committee members?
Answer: If the owner alleges the renovations were required due to common property defects, then such defects should have been notified to the owners corporation. Bathroom renovations require a by-law under the legislation — which the owner appears not to have obtained. If the owner alleges the renovations were required due to common property defects, then such defects should have been notified to the owners corporation.
The owners corporation should not be liable to foot the bill unless there is compelling evidence of a defect in the common property necessitating a full bathroom renovation.
This does not seem to be the case. You should seek legal advice on this one. Question: A lot owner wants reimbursement for repairs required due to common property defects, although they did not follow the correct process. Should the Owners Corporation appease this lot owner? We had a motion passed after a discussion held at our last years AGM. All requests for maintenance must be channelled through the Strata Committee and the Strata Manager who will then issue a work order to a certified contractor.
Since this was passed at the last AGM, we had an owner get work done on her lot. The work was necessary due to a common property defect and was carried out by their own contractor. They are now demanding a reimbursement for the cost of the work. Just prior to this claim, another owner wanted the same issue caused by the common property defect repaired.
This owner followed the correct process, as per the motion. The owner who has not followed the process and has had the work done outside of this motion is causing all kind of demands because the compliant lot owner was compensated by strata. We passed this motion because we have previously had owners being reimbursed at a later date for works that have not been channelled through the strata manager and strata committee.
Should the strata committee go against a motion passed at an AGM by the Owners Corporation to appease this owner? This is a difficult question because the motion passed implies that an owner has authority to issue work orders for work on the common property which they do not but if they do so, they will not be reimbursed.
While we understand this was intended to dissuade lot owners from by-passing the proper channels for common property repairs, Section clearly states that owners must not carry out work on the common property without the proper approvals.
The concern for the Owners Corporation is that where a lot owner carries out the work, the Owners Corporation does not obtain the benefit of any warranties for works carried out. Also, it is not aware of the qualifications of the contractor carrying out works on the common property and there is a possibility that the insurances of the Owners Corporation may have been compromised. All that said, we cannot give you legal advice.
However, we are of the view that the by-law is confusing and could be better drafted. I wonder if you can clarify a strata question that is very grey with regards to my floorboards. Our building in Sydney NSW was completed on the year Each townhouse has a section of floorboards in the lounge room. Our Strata manager says the floorboards are not common property and are the owners responsibility. This contradicts the following — last year we had some rectification works due to common property defects relating to waterproofing and some of the townhouses did have some water damage to their floorboards and the strata paid for the repairs to the floorboards.
When I asked the Executive Committee, the chairperson said that because the other units had damage caused by the reification works of the common property defects, the owners corporation had to pay for them. I find this inequitable and am really confused. What do I do? Answer: You need to confirm whether your flooring is common property or lot property It is not uncommon for the Owners Corporation to repair lot property resulting from damage caused by common property defects.
Therefore, whilst the flooring may not be common property, the Owners Corporation would still be responsible to repair flooring where their property has caused the damage. However, to determine if your flooring is common property or lot property, and which party is responsible for general repair and maintenance of the flooring, the following should be confirmed: Type of timber flooring , hard flooring or floating floors How the timber flooring is installed, is the flooring attached to the common property in any way, i.
Is the timber flooring part of the original building, i. It is the upper surface of the floor and the starting point of your cubic airspace in as much as you own the painted surface of the common property ceiling in your lot.
Therefore, in practice, while the Owners Corporation is responsible to repair and maintain the floorboards, any cost for application of polish would be payable by you.
Leaky condo crisis
Original Acts as passed