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  • #11664

    We have experienced substantial water damage to a floating floor.  A garden tap in the private courtyard of an adjacent unit was left on.  Attached to the tap was an individually owned garden hose to which was affixed a sprinkler “gun” (operated by a trigger).  The gun was blown off the hose by the water pressure at a time when there was no one home in either our unit or the adjacent unit.  Water flowed for several hours.  The water penetrated the common wall between the units and caused damage to our floating floor, skirtings, bedroom carpets, a bedroom door jamb & a built-in wardrobe.  There was no water damage to the adjacent unit.

    Our contents insurer has accepted our claim for the loss of the carpets but has denied liability for all other damage.  Our building is 6 years old.  We are the original owners and the floating floor was installed by the builder as part of our purchase contract, although at our request the originally laid ceramic tiles and carpet in the hallway & living area were removed and replaced before we settled & occupied. Perhaps significantly the floating floor was laid after registration of the strata plan.

    The owners of the adjacent unit have contents insurance as do we; the OC has appropriate building insurance.

    Who is responsible for what?

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  • #29502

    Just getting back to basics – this is the fault of the next door neighbour, regardless of whose insurance covers what. They are the ones who should be running around trying to find out what THEIR insurance covers.


    I note that some contents insurers will only cover:

    floating wooden floors paid for by you after the building was built

    While other contents insurers will cover floating floors regardless.

    I’ve tried claiming floating floor damage from the OC building insurance.  They have referred me back to the contents insurer.   CHU (considered to be a market leader) for example specifically exclude floating floors in their strata building insurance:

    Building means:

    fixtures and structural improvements other than Floating Floors;


    But include them in their strata lot owner contents insurance.

    I hope you are not caught by a cover gap between the OC’s building insurer and your contents insurer!


    I think and unfixed floating floor is exactly what it saya it is – it sits on top of the floor and hadn’t been drilled, screwed, glued ot otherwise attached.

    The difference a by-law would make would be that it would ascribe responsibility for repair and maintenance of the floor to either the lot owner or the OC. The insurer would base their response on that.

    If it turns out that the floor is not common property and your insurer refuses to cover the damage, you need to make a claim against the neighbour through your local court, if need be.  

    By the way, I notice Strata Community Australia no longer carries the “Who’s Responsible …” document on their website. 

    Along with the demise of their excellent online training program for strata committee members, it’s another reason you might want to rethink your membership of the strata manager body’s Owners section and move to the independent Owners Corporation Network.


    The 3 replies to date are appreciated.  However, I now find that our By-laws (recently updated following the introduction of the revised Act & properly registered) have adopted the “Common Property Memorandum” recommended by NSW Fair Trading.  This memorandum details the following as Lot Owner’s responsibility –

    ‘5.(c) internal carpeting and floor coverings, unfixed floating floors.’

    Under OC responsibility in relation to floors, the memorandum states – 

    5. (a) original floor tiles affixed to common property floors   and

    (c) original floor tiles and associated waterproofing affixed to common property floors at the time of registration of the strata plan.

    Interestingly the memorandum does not mention floating floors under OC responsibility and under Lot Owner responsibility says UNFIXED  floating floors.

    What is the difference between a fixed & an unfixed floating floor?

    Can a contents insurer deny liability if there is a By-law?

    Lady Penelope

    I agree with JT. Try the OC avenue first.

    There are a few things to consider when determining if flooring is common property.

    If there is no special by-law regarding the flooring then Floating flooring can be a ‘grey’ area and can depend upon how it is affixed to the slab e.g. has it been screwed or glued to the slab, or not affixed to the slab at all?

    The OC may argue that if the flooring is not affixed to the slab and has no special by-law regarding who is responsible for it then perhaps it may be considered not to be common property …. in a similar way that carpet is not considered common property.


    I think the “floating” floor would be considered common property and it is up to the Owners Corp to fix it and then claim any excess payments from the bareless neighbour who caused the damage.

    I’ve never heard of a floor being considered “contents” and even if it wasn’t strictly common property, it would be covered by OC insurance as a permanent fixture (unless there was a by-law in place to say otherwise).

    Claim against the OC and then they can claim against the neighbour, if need be.


    It’s odd that the contents insurer is not accepting a floating floor as contents similar to a carpet.

    What is their reasoning? 

    Perhaps they are (incorrectly in my view) classing it as a structural wood floor in which case a claim could be made on the Owners Corporation’s building insurance.

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