Flat Chat Forum Common Property Current Page

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  • #56128
    Jess
    Flatchatter

    My unit is a strata scheme apartment. I renovated my bathroom a few years ago. I broke all the original tiles, did new waterproofing, new shower area, new toilet etc, basically everything new in my bathroom. I did not notice that was a major renovation as it involves changing waterproofing.

    Recently, I noticed that I should have told my strata manager and O/C, and it requires approval from O/C and  drafting a bylaw for that. Luckily no one has noticed that I changed my bathroom. Now, I want to rent out my apartment.  Should I just hide it, and remain as a secret until the O/C finds out? Or should I tell my strata and O/C about the renovation, and find a lawyer to draft a by-law? How much will it cost me? What is the usual process?

    (I don’t recall any information of the company which completed the renovation. And I lost the invoice.)

    If i choose to hide it up, and my O/C notice that a few years later, will I be in big trouble and get fines from council ?

    If the waterproofing fails, and water leaks into the apartment below, is it my responsibility to fix everything or will O/C responsible for it ?

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by .
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  • #56133
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    To answer your last question first, if the worst comes to the worst, yes, you are liable.  However, from the strata scheme’s point of view, they’ll be more concerned about the liability of the next owner of your flat, if and when you sell.

    Technically, once you have sold, defects in the bathroom would be the responsibility of the owners corp until they can resume control of the common property and (theoretically) reinstate it to its previous condition or persuade the new owner to take responsibility.

    In real terms, that means threatening to undo the reno – but that’s never going to fly.  What could happen is a lot of hassle, stress and legal bills before a resolution is reached.

    Now, you probably could get away with not telling anyone what you’ve done.  If the waterproofing and tiles were badly installed, you’d  probably know about it by now.

    However, if you come to sell, and some savvy purchaser knows what they’re doing, they’ll see in the strata records that you didn’t get approval for the renovation, and could use that to leverage a lower purchase price.

    Right now, hypothetically, the strata scheme could demand that you either get a retrospective by-law done or that you reinstate the bathroom to its previous condition.  What that really means is that they could cause you a lot of grief in forcing you to take responsibility for the work done and any damage caused by defective work on common property.

    To err on the side of caution, I might tell the strata manager that you didn’t realise you needed a by-law, but you are prepared to sign up for a retrospective approval which would include taking responsibility for the common property.

    That is all any sensible strata scheme should require and if they get silly about it, you don’t have to sign anything that you aren’t happy about.  They can’t force you to take responsibility but they can make life difficult if they get all “bush lawyer” about it.

    With that in mind, I would strongly recommend that you approach an experienced strata lawyer (like our sponsors Sachs Gerace Lawyers) or owner advocates (also our sponsors) StrataAnswers,  who will not only advise you on the best way forward but, if need be, will act as intermediaries with your strata scheme.

    That said, a sensible strata committee will want to avoid the potential for stressful and costly legal battles if you all don’t reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

    All they need is for you to take ongoing and transferrable responsibility for the renovation – which is what a pre-reno by-law would have done – and should be happy to resolve the issue with the minimum cost and fuss to all concerned.

    The worst thing that could happen is if they insisted on using their lawyers and their by-laws and over-charging you for the privilege, at which point you would be justified in telling them to take a hike.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by .
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