In periods of heavy rain (which we often experience throughout Queensland), water often finds a way to cause a nuisance inside as well as outside.
For Owners, Committees, Building Managers and Body Corporate Managers, this creates the need for some thorough investigation and a hard look at the QLD Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
In basic terms, the Body Corporate is responsible for the maintenance of common property and each owner is responsible for the interior of his or her lot.
It seems like determining who has the responsibility for water leaks is clean cut then? Or, what if:
- There is a hole in the pipe providing water to your unit?
- You are an investor-owner whose tenant has left the bedroom window open?
- The drainage on the balcony of the unit above you blocks you and water overflows and causes damage to your balcony?
And so on… Perhaps it’s not quite so easy after all.
For owners in Bodies Corporate where there is a Building Manager, they should be your first port of call (sorry, there seems to be water everywhere!). If they are uncertain, your Body Corporate Manager is next.
Then, responsibility for the necessary repairs will need to be clearly determined. If Body Corporate expenditure is involved, the Committee or a representative of the Committee will need to be involved. Quotes for repair will need to be obtained and a potential insurance claim will need to be considered. The first step should be to fix the issue.
But, if you were an uninvolved lot owner, I am sure that you would want to be ensured that your levies are not being spent on repairs that are not a Body Corporate responsibility and that if it is a Body Corporate responsibility, as little as necessary is spent.
- This depends on the location of the pipe and also the type of scheme that you live in. For example, in a building format plan if the pipe services only your unit, and is not inside a boundary structure and is within the boundaries of your lot, then the responsibility is yours.
- The matter should be raised with your tenant.
- Each owner has a responsibility to maintain their own lot and if failure to do this results in cost to another owner, then the first owner may well be expected to repair the damage caused to the property of the second owner.
Situations may vary to alter the circumstances above and it is important to remember that water can travel a long way from where it starts.
Hopefully, though, the above information may help if water problems come your way.
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