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Forum: When ‘she’ll be right’ is oh so wrong

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That old chestnut of who is responsible for repairs done on a nod and a wink rears its ugly, unloved head again in this week’s Forum.

A Flatchatter writes that a pipe burst in the bathroom ceiling of his apartment which had been extensively renovated by the previous owner some 10 years previously.

The bathroom ceiling had to be replaced after the plumbers fixed the leak but the Flatchatter’s contents policy will only pay for the painting of the ceiling, not the repair.

Now the Building Manager says the owners corporation is not responsible because the apartment is not the original apartment as a result of the renovations.

“If the body corporate approved the renovations and the ceiling is common property, should they not be responsible?” asks the Flatchatte.

Well, yes, but then again, no.  If the owners corp did its due diligence and insisted on the renovator accepting a by-law taking responsibility for the changes to common property, then that responsibility passes to any future owner of the apartment.

On the other hand, if members took a “she’ll be right” attitude and didn’t see the point of getting a by-law to cover the changes, then the Owners Corp is still responsible.

Why?  Because somebody has to be.

Section 108 (4) of the current strata Act, covering changes to common property, says: “If a special resolution under this section does not specify who has the ongoing maintenance of the common property concerned, the owners corporation has the responsibility for the ongoing maintenance.”

Going back 10 years to when the previous (1996) Act was in force, it takes a roundabout route to say basically the same thing, specifically in Section 54 which is handily headlined “By-law must provide for maintenance of property”.

It says: “A by-law to which this Division applies must: (a) provide that the owners corporation is to continue to be responsible for the proper maintenance of … the common property or the relevant part of it, or (b) impose on the owner or owners concerned the responsibility for that maintenance and upkeep.”

In both cases, the intent of the laws are clear; in the absence of a by-law saying otherwise, responsibility for the changes to common property remain with the owners corp.

You can read more about this HERE

And someone who might benefit from a quick glance is another Flatchatter who knows there is unauthorised work going on in his block but can’t get his committee or strata manager to lift a finger to check it, let alone pass a by-law.

You can follow that fresh saga HERE.

Elsewhere in the Forum

  • Is it OK to post, on the notice board, stills from our security cameras of idiots who pressed every buzzer at 2 am until they found the right flat?  That’s HERE.
  • The strata manager is demanding I get by-laws for work on common property (here we go again) but other owners didn’t get by-laws for theirs.  Can I demand retrospective by-laws for all the others? That’s HERE.
  • A former member of our committee didn’t turn up for the AGM, didn’t nominate for election and hasn’t contacted the committee since, but now the strata manager, who will be sacked without his vote, says he’s still a member.  That’s HERE.
  • We renovated out bathroom with full approvals, then made over our kitchen without telling anyone.  Now we’re selling the flat and the committee wants to inspect. Must we let them?  That’s HERE.
  • My flat is almost uninhabitable due to damp and mould, but the committee won’t fix leaks properly even though they’ve had eight inspections and there’s enough money in the kitty.  That’s HERE.
  • And there’s the opposite issue – a committee is insisting on paying for damage from a burst pipe that wasn’t common property.  That’s HERE.

There are plenty of other posts to the Forum – many of which have nothing to do with burst pipes or by-laws. Check ‘em out, answer if you like or just have a chuckle and be glad it’s not you … this time.

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