Neglect becomes Owners Corp expense?? NSW | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Neglect becomes Owners Corp expense?? NSW
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FlatChatter
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17/01/2018 - 7:43 am
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Hi…

New to this forum, but have followed the Flat Chat  newspaper information for years, and love the info.

Here’s our story and question – 

( I did search on “”neglect”” but didn’t find the exact answer. Appreciate any advice.)

Our Strata plan involves about a dozen units. 2 story townhouses. NSW.

About 20 y.o.

Members of the OC ( incl. myself) were involved recently in inspecting several units as part of an unrelated issue. Owners/tennants were happliy providing access for OC and builders etc to inspect the unrelated issue.

What was noticed as an aside to the unrelated issue, was the internal condition of one of the units. There was several areas of very evident water damage to internal gyprock type ceilings.

This was evident in both the attached garage ( single story, tile roof) and the ground floor living area ( bedroom/ensuite above it, on 2nd floor).

The garage lining may just be a case of a loose tile or incomplete sarking.

However the internal issue within the townhouse itself, reeks of a weeping water pipe of leaking bathroom floor/drain that is leaking into the void between the upstairs floor and the downstairs ceiling.

This particular unit was tenanted , and the long term tenant advised it had been happening/ like that for years, and had been both noticed by, and reported to , the real estate managing agent on several occasions during routine inspections. The tenant was not happy about the lack of action, but assumed something was being planned. It wasn’t,as no one else seemed to be awre of the issue.

OC contacted the Strata Agent , who did a records search for the Unit and advised that nothing was on record regarding this issue.

Thus, it is assumed???? that the Real Estate agent either didn’t contact the owner? or that the owner never contacted the Strata manager such that repairs could be initiated ??.

Regardless the OC was unaware and therefore had never instigated action to sort out the cause of the water damage.

I guess the question is –

as the damage is now far more significant than it would have been if nipped in the bud….who pays?.  i.e. why should the OC ( all unit owners) have to pay to repair a big issue, if the whole thing could have been sorted when it was a little job. 

i.e. neglect by someone?( how could we ever determine who?) has increased cost to all. 

Is it as simple as an owner just turns a blind eye to all issues…and then the OC has to step in and sort out and pay for the resultant mess?? ( not saying the owner is at fault here , as that is yet to be determined)

Are there any solutions to this issue? 

As time marches on, tenants, Real Estate people, Strata managers all come and go and the trail gets messy/murky and fragmented.?

Thanks again

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Cosmo
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17/01/2018 - 12:44 pm
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Who Pays, you summed it up when you said “the trail gets messy/murky and fragmented.”

If you can prove negligence upon anyone’s part the strata can sue them (legal action).  The strata MIGHT even win.   Legal action can be expensive.  I doubt if the strata would have the required evidence. 

Mostly people I have witnessed in this position I just tell them to grin and bear it!  

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18/01/2018 - 8:44 am
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Thanks Cosmo…..thought that may be the case.

Sounds like a rort to me, people should accept their responsibilities and look after their own units. However, as stated before…..who knows who knows what.

Thanks

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taps
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18/01/2018 - 3:54 pm
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Ah – yes the off-property owners who don’t worry about their investment and the R E Agents who take the money and don’t inspect.  

You could get a signed statement from the tenant to say this was reported to agent ??years ago and nothing done – & pics if the tenant sent them (especially as they are date stamped) then present to the owner and ask if they pay half or quarter cost of repair.  it may work.  

we had a townhouse in our complex tenanted over & over – the kitchen awning windows were not winding in so stuck open to the elements – the tenant said nothing, the owner didn’t visit, the agent was family didn’t visit,  consequently, the wood rotted and the glass in two panes nearly fell out.  when the committee got photo’s of really bad windows and frames we asked the tenant for a signed letter stating how long it had been like that (they didn’t care and they were moving out anyway). we had new windows quoted for put bill ($6k) & photo’s and statement the owners asked them to contribute (even though it’s strata) they did, as they wanted to do up townhouse and sell which they did. 

while it wasn’t ‘cricket’ to do so – it’s not fair on other property owners to foot the bill for negligent behaviour from agent and owner.  we do have a by-law that states that property must be kept in good repair.  (even if it’s strata).  & these windows were dangerous there was a piece of ply nailed to one window holding the bottom of the window frame to the side, had that not been there the glass would have dropped.  

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30/01/2018 - 10:04 am
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Thanks Taps, …..All these years we have been keep ours maintained…looks like we are the dummies! Should have just let it fall appart..then act dumb.  Thanks for the reply, appreciate it. 

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