Recent storms caused an electrical outage in our block of 12 units (I think an electric strike to building or substation next door)….the lifts, foyer lights and sensor at front door were fried and required urgent repairs over the next week.
An owner who was absent during this time – does not live full time only sometimes maybe as a weekender no one really knows has 2 problems we hope you can give us some guidance on.
1) he has passed a food spoiled invoice to the OC demanding payment as his fridge was off – maybe the breaker circuit tripped and remained off – who knows what happened. Other units had their power back on – with no problems reported. Are we responsible ? Is there a SSMA 2015 clause we can quote to him ….&
2) he is pretty annoyed to return to find the spoiled food and says we have a responsibility to communicate to owners as the representative body when something like this happens……..should we have sent emails to all owners who possibly may not have been home and unaware of the situation – we were busy thinking of getting elderly residents accommodation etc as the lift did not work for 4 days, and pursued repairs….. while no other owners spoke of their power being out – we did not think of it.
Are we a Strata Committee or caretakers for an absent owner ?
All of this should be covered by home and contents insurance. If he doesn’t have that, it’s his problem.
Regarding the notification, it’s hard to see how anyone could be expected to know that there were problems with his unit that weren’t replicated in others. Again, if he doesn’t have a friend in the building or nearby, that’s his problem too.
I would be as sympathetic as possible and maybe offer to hold a key for him (so people can get access if there’s anything similar in the future). But are you liable? I doubt it. And there’s nothing I can think of in the Act that even refers to such an eventuality.
The only thing would be if the electricity to his unit was permanently disconnected … but it wasn’t. It was only inside the unit that it was shut off.
You could run it past your strata insurers – you never know, they might cover it – but if they’re not on board, pass it straight back to the owner. If he couldn’t foresee a situation like this, and take suitable precautions, how can he expect you to?