20/05/2019 at 8:19 pm #37754
I’ve lived in a townhouse for 6 years and have paid around $20-30k out of pocket for a number of emergency or water ingress rectification works. The work has involved fixing leaking roof, missing flashing & valleys, continual water ingress in my garage, water damage to painted walls and metallic frames etc.
I didn’t seek funding from Strata courtesy of a mix of poor Strata management & my own lack of common property knowledge.
Do I have any recourse to seek compensation for these sorts of out of pocket expenses?
Many thanks in advance.
21/05/2019 at 8:49 am #37761
- This topic was modified 4 months ago by Jimmy-T.
Under section 106, the Owners Corporation has absolute responsibility for repair and maintenance of common property – this is in no doubt.
The question arises of whether or not you should have gone ahead and repaired the common property yourself.
Subsection 5 and 6 of Sections 106 say this:
(5) An owner of a lot in a strata scheme may recover from the owners corporation, as damages for breach of statutory duty, any reasonably foreseeable loss suffered by the owner as a result of a contravention of this section by the owners corporation.
Now, this doesn’t precisely cover your situation but it gives you an avenue for a claim at NCAT, should your neighbours balk at repaying the costs.
A few things to consider that might help or hinder your case:
- Were all the areas repaired definitely common property?
- Were other owners aware that you were repairing common property at your own expense?
- Can you clearly show that it was only common property that was repaired and that the repairs needed to be carried out – or at least show a clear delineation between costs for lot repairs and common property repairs?
- Did you get a number of quotes for the work to show that the cost was reasonable?
- Have other owners repaired common property at their own expense?
If I were you at this stage I would present your “bill” for the costs – minus what you would have paid as part of your share – to your committee or strata manager. I would err on the conservative side and offer a couple of options for repayment (including a reduction of levies until the debt was cleared).
If they reject the claim, then the process would be to go to Fair Trading for mediation, and then the Tribunal.
I would not go in too hard and heavy at the beginning but it would do no harm to get some professional advice, even at this stage.