Repair of a roof leak | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Repair of a roof leak
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Dudley
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14/04/2017 - 12:44 pm
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Good Afternoon All,

My question is relating to the correct procedure to be followed to repair a roof leak in a strata property.

A brief outline of the circumstances will explain my questions.

I am on the executive committee of a small (4 townhouses) strata in Sydney. Three of the townhouses are owner occupied and one has rental tenants. The property is circa 25 years old and all owners are the original owners.

We recently changed our strata manager and are very happy with the new one, all owners were involved with and agreed to the decision.

During the recent period of heavy rain in Sydney our strata manager sent the EC a copy of an e-mail from the Real Estate Company managing the townhouse with the tenants. The managing agent advising that they have arranged for a roof leak to be fixed. A later e-mail contained the invoice for the repair.

My questions are,

Is the decision by the managing agent of the rental property to arbitrarily decide to arrange for a roof repair to be done without consulting the strata manager?

In the first e-mail from the managing agent to our strata manager mention was made of the fact that they (managing agent) were unaware of the new strata manager. I'm sure that the old strata manager told them of the change, how else would they have been able to sent both e-mails to our current strata manager.

If the managing agent was unaware of the change of strata manager, whose responsibility is it to notify the managing agent of a change of strata manager of a rental property?

The invoice amount for the repair seems, in my opinion, to be excessive for the work done. I happened to be at home when the repair was done and assumed that it was something to do with the actual townhouse rather that the roof, as the work was completed in a very short time. 

It is worth mentioning that there was an instance during the recent change-over of strata managers that an invoice for roof repairs for the same townhouse appeared. The repair was not known of by me or the other member of the EC. All strata repairs in our plan are discussed by and approved by both members of the EC prior to authorisation, this may seem over the top, but it works for us. In fact we have insisted with out new strata manager that this is the way we want it.

I would appreciate any suggestions on the correct procedure to be followed, with regards to the current situtation and how to ensure that we have no re-occurance. I am of a mind to return the invoice to the managing agent and suggest that they sent it to whoever authorised the repair.

Regards,

Dudley

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Lady Penelope
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14/04/2017 - 1:48 pm
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Dudley - Can you provide some additional information please?

Are the townhouses separate buildings with separate roofs, or, are the townhouses attached to each other with a common roof?

If separate can you check the Strata Plan to determine the boundary between the Lot and the Common Property. The reason why I am asking is that sometimes roofs are common property and sometimes they are not .... is there a notation on the Strata Plan about roofs?

If the roof is deemed to be common property then the Rental Agent is clearly wrong to arrange the repair. The Rental Agent's duty to the tenant is to inform the OC about the leak - that is all!

In the alternative case, if the roof is not deemed to be common property and is therefore the responsibility of the Lot owner then the Rental Agent is wrong to send the invoice to the OC. The invoice should be sent to the Owner.

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Dudley
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14/04/2017 - 4:02 pm
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Lady Penelope,

Many thanks for your prompt reply.

The townhouses are attached to each other and have a common roof.

I will instruct our strata manager to advise the Rental Agent that our strata plan is not willing to accept the invoice for the roof repair. 

Prior to this I will discuss the matter with the other member of the executive committee. In line with the procedure outlined in the penultimate paragraph of my previous e-mail.

Once again my sincere thanks.

Regards,

Dudley.

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Lady Penelope
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14/04/2017 - 4:21 pm
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Dudley - Or if your OC did not want to get into a 'fight' your OC could agree to pay the invoice, if it appears to be reasonable, but ... before you do so ...... you could make the OC payment of the invoice contingent on the Rental Agent guaranteeing the repair work and get them to sign an indemnity that should any further work need to be carried out as a result of the repair that the Rental Agent must cover any additional costs. And of course you would need to point out their error.

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Dudley
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16/04/2017 - 1:39 pm
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Lady Penelope said
Dudley - Or if your OC did not want to get into a 'fight' your OC could agree to pay the invoice, if it appears to be reasonable, but ... before you do so ...... you could make the OC payment of the invoice contingent on the Rental Agent guaranteeing the repair work and get them to sign an indemnity that should any further work need to be carried out as a result of the repair that the Rental Agent must cover any additional costs. And of course you would need to point out their error.  

Lady Penelope,

Once again, Many thanks.

This is such a simple and clever way of solving a problem that should never have occured, while not allowing it to develop into a "fight".

Regards,

Dudley

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Austman
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18/04/2017 - 9:26 am
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I think you have to be a bit flexible and reasonable as well.

Understanding the likely chain of events can help:

1. The tenant reports a roof leak to their agent.
2. The agent sends a roof plumber to investigate.
3. The work is fairly minor, so the roof plumber fixes it on the spot and invoices the agent.
4. The agent then realises that the repair was actually an OC responsibility.

So, lots of mistakes being made but in the end, the OC is responsible for repairs to common property.

Considering:

1. The repair costs, although perhaps not good value, were fairly minor.
2. Any plumber will charge a call-out fee.
3. The OC would probably have to pay any investigation fee once it was established that it was a common property issue.
4. Plumbers usually have no idea about what is common property.
5. Managing agents often have a poor knowledge about what is common property.

I'd just pay the account. Most have acted in good faith at least.

And ask both the agent and the tenant to contact the OC next time, if that's what you want.  Realise that some strata managers will charge a service fee for handling such an enquiry - it depends on the contract.

The whole matter is probably not worth getting into a fight over.

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