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Who's responsible for broken window
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18/07/2018 - 10:56 am
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My partner and I rent a 2 bed apartment in Sydney and we have a dog. We recently went on holiday for a week and left our dog at a boarding kennel. We left the blinds down in every room and when we returned everything looked in the exact same state.

When we opened the blinds in the living room, we noticed a large crack the whole width of one of the balcony door panes which 100% must have happened while we were away.

Will we be responsible to replace the glass? I’m guessing it will be our word against the landlords but this really wasn’t anyone’s fault but there is no way of proving this. I’m wondering if it should come under the landlords insurance? I’m worried that they’ll try blaming our dog or something?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

18/07/2018 - 11:15 am
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The first thing that occurs to me is that the cracked glass could be dangerous and you need to get it fixed ASAP. 

After that, I’m pretty sure that balcony door glass is supposed to be higher grade than window glass so it may be that this is a defect in the door.  Check with your building manager/ strata secretary to see if this has occurred in any other apartments.

The balcony door will be common property so the Ownerrs Corporation (body corporate) need to fix it first and start looking at whose fault it is later. 

When it comes to the “he said/she said” and finger-pointing, unless you can prove that it wasn’t you, they and the landlord are entitled to assume that it was. 

You can only hope that they have landlord insurance or that the Owners Corp just claims against its insurance.

But, once again, the priority is to get it fixed and that means talking to the building manager or strata manager or committee secretary and only then worry about who pays.

One other thing – do you have permission to have the dog from the landlord and/or the strata committee?

Happy Strata
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18/07/2018 - 9:29 pm
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Sorry to hijack a topic (I hate it when people do that) but it is a related question. 

In our complex we have balcony balustrades made of metal frames with glass in them. If we come across a unit with cracked or broken glass we organise the glaziers to come in and resolve it, and the OC picks up the cost. Like Jimmy says we want to get the safety issue fixed quickly. 

Have we been doing this all wrong? We believed that unless it was bleedingly obvious that someone had done something stupid, that it would be hard to have the owner / tenant pick up the tab. 

19/07/2018 - 8:13 pm
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I don’t think you’ve been doing anything wrong.  You have fixed the window and then I assume it has come out of your strata insurance or maintenance funds.

You could try to prove the resident has caused the break but then they could claim the window was defective.  Sometimes it’s better just to do the work and move on.

By the way, this is different from a tenant-landlord situation as the landlord has a bond that they can claim against for breakages, in which case the balance of whether or not it’s worth fighting the issue is reversed.

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