Storm Damage – Who is Responsible?

For many Australians on the east coast of Australia, summer means storm season. 

With October and November already having seen plenty of rain and thunderstorms and the odd tornado, we thought there was no better time to share some tips for your property when it comes to storm damage. 

Who is responsible for damage? 

As always, there is no one answer fits all when it comes to strata. All schemes are different and will need to be assessed on a case by case basis. However, we have put together some information below to assist in determining who is responsible. 

If you have experienced damage to your building structure, check your insurance policy and if it doesn’t include building insurance locate the relevant policy for your scheme (this may require you contact the Owners Corporation, Building Manager or Owners Corporation Manager). Check the policy to examine the level of coverage as policies differ, and contact your insurer to discuss the damage. 

How can I determine if the damage is my responsibility as the lot owner or the responsibility of the Owners Corporation? 

Determining responsibilities for repairs and maintenance is a particularly complex matter. Your Owners Corporation Manager will be able to assist with this. Knowing your plan of subdivision will help you define the boundaries of your lot and the common property.

In most cases the Owners Corporation must have building insurance for the common property and assets. Different insurers and policies can contain different levels of cover. Your first steps might include: 

  • locating the relevant policy for your scheme and lot—you may wish to contact the Owners Corporation, On-site Manager or Owners Corporation Manager (if applicable) 
  • checking the policy for the extent of its coverage 
  • contacting your insurer or broker to discuss any damage and the process for lodging a claim 
  • documenting damage. For example, by taking photos or video 
  • cleaning up after the storm (where safe to do so) to minimise the extent of the damage. 

How to prevent storm damage for your strata scheme

Storm season has begun so now is the time to be prepared – as individuals and as a community. 

When was the last time your scheme had a building valuation and adjusted your insurance accordingly? Major insurers recommend strata communities have a full building valuation at least every three years. 

Once you are insured correctly, the next step is maintenance and preparation. Various websites such as Harden Up have practical tips to ensure you and your community are prepared for storm season. 

The site has information which is sensible and practical such as:  

  • Check your roof area for loose tiles or iron sheets. 
  • Considering having tarpaulins and ropes available in the case of roof damage. 
  • Check roof eaves, gable end walls for gaps corrosion or rotten timber.  

Another great suggestion is to draw a map of your property and clearly mark the location of your electrical switchboard, gas connection or tanks, water supply, and keep this with your Household Emergency Plan in the case of a natural disaster.  

Living in Australia often means unpredictable weather and extreme rain events. If your property has damage caused by storms or other natural disasters, SSKB will work hard to ensure damage is quickly and effectively repaired to a high standard with the best outcome for your community. 

 

 

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