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Who can fix something on Common Property
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01/12/2018 - 6:48 pm
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Nine months ago I moved into a strata in Melbourne consisting of 8 units.

In the past, one owner of units has installed a key pad to access the property. This owner may have also done some work on the electronics associated with a new intercom system which currently is not working for one unit.

It seems to me that there are problems if an owner fixes something like the electronics on common property.  They probably aren’t qualified, what about insurance, invalidating the warranty and issues if something goes wrong (the owner may get the blame and take responsibility.

What are the general principles regarding an owner fixing things on common property ?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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02/12/2018 - 9:14 pm
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Dear Fromthenorth

You don’t actually tell us what your problem is, apart from the fact that some owner has the temerity to fo some work around your building.

There are only two trades, electrical POWER wiring and telecommunication wiring, and plumbing including gas, which require a licence. All other maintenance trades do not require a licence, though the trade may need to be registered with fair trading.

If the lot owner doing the work is suitably qualified, then let them do the work. They probably are cheaper than a tradie and can do it sooner. I can’t see that therewoild be any issue wiyh insurance or warranty unless they were proved to be negligent (but that argument applies to any trade doing work onyour property).

If there is an owner who is willing to do some work around your property,  he is probably saving your strata money.

Having said the above,  this arrangement probably works well for smaller complexes.

Sir Humphrey

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02/12/2018 - 9:46 pm
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It might be a worry if someone is doing stuff unilaterally without at least talking to a few people about it. With only 8 units, it can’t be too hard to quickly check that everyone is happy to have a new keypad installed. If your committee has approved the work and someone on site has the skills and enthusiasm to save everyone some delays and money, then let them, so long as it is not something that requires a license. A standard strata insurance policy should include cover for volunteers. 

Where I am, there are people who check and change globes in all the public lighting and make other minor repairs that stop short of the sort of thing that needs an electrician. Others do some gardening that lets our gardening contractor’s allotted hours be used to better effect. Some volunteer to re-oil the outdoor furniture and playground timbers. I split timber for our communal pizza oven and recently worked on constructing beds for our community garden, which avoid the cost of having them put together by someone paid. The OC only had to pay for materials. 

Flame Tree
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03/12/2018 - 10:28 am
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Hi, it can be a bit of a two way street having lot owners be proactive DIYers. It’s all good if they know what they are doing and don’t add to the death by 1000 cuts if a bunch of things get done without mind for tidiness and precedent. On the flip side if stuff gets done to an unprofessional level it will yes be cheaper, but likely to look that way and not last. The big issue is if someone gets hurt doing something and then bites the b’corp for their costs/compo. Fall off a ladder and the costs could be significant. So sometimes I think it’s almost better if stuff happens and the others can plead ignorant to knowing it was going on.

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