12/02/2019 at 10:04 pm #35731
A serious water leak occurred in our building inside an apartment, resulting a small piece of carpet being taken up so the plumbing could be repaired. The plumbing issue was the responsibility of the Strata. To carry out this work a small section of the carpet was taken up. The carpet is 19 years old and very worn, and when the section was taken up the underlay was in very poor condition (perished in parts, through wear not the water leak). The owner is unhappy with how it looks now that it has been put back down and wants it remedied. The Managing Agent has advised verbally that the strata insurance is not responsible for this. The apartment owner is not insured for contents. Some Strata Committee members believe the carpet should be replaced out of the building funds. Does the Strata Committee have the power to make this decision, or should it go to an Extraordinary Meeting.
Taffy313/02/2019 at 2:45 pm #35760
I agree with the strata manager.
Carpet is a lot responsibility and neither the OC/BC nor the OC/BC’s insurance company need to pay for its restoration unless the water leak was caused by OC/BC negligence. If the leak was not caused by negligence (eg it was due to a burst pipe) it doesn’t matter that the carpet had to be damaged in order to access and repair the leak.
The lot should be claiming on their own contents insurance.
IMO it would be a brave committee to approve the replacement costs of a 19 year old carpet that the OC/BC is not liable for. But the whole OC/BC could decide to do that at a general meeting.13/02/2019 at 4:34 pm #35762
It says quite clearly in the original post that the plumbing issue was the responsibility of “the strata” which I’m taking to mean the owners corporation.
The OC “owned” the problem and they damaged the carpet in fixing it. It’s absolutely clear to me that the OC has a responsibility here, however ridiculous it may seem for them to be replacing a carpet well past its use-by date.
A responsible strata committee should be offering a compromise of some sort and while that may not run to a whole new carpet, that’s what they could be facing if the lot owner decided to play hard ball.
There is no way an individual owner should have to pay for the consequences of the owners corp having to fix a problem in common property.
And, yes, the committee can make that decision. A special resolution is not required so neither is an EGM.
By the way, the section of the “Who’s responsible?” document that used to say all the stuff about the OC being responsible for the repairs to lot property that was damaged when they were repairing something else has been quietly removed. It was an anomaly anyway.13/02/2019 at 5:32 pm #35773
There can be quite a difference between being responsible for the maintenance and repair of an item (like a burst water pipe) and being liable for any damage that it may have caused both from the issue itself and from the works needed in fixing the issue.
The strata manager seems to know the difference. Insurance companies know the difference. I think I now know the difference. My lot property (floors) have been damaged a few times in such circumstances so I’ve had to clarify it in some depth eg with insurance companies.
“Owning” and fixing the problem does not always mean owning and fixing the consequential damage that the problem caused. If the OC was legally liable for the consequential damage caused, of course it would have to fix it and its insurance would likely cover it – either in its building cover or its legal liability cover. But in many cases, particularly with water issues like burst pipes, the OC is not actually legally liable for any consequential damage as there usually is no negligence involved. So yes, in those cases the lot owner can have to pay for lot property damage caused by the problem and in the fixing of it. Or at least the lot owner’s contents insurance company can have to pay.
It’s another reason for lot owners to have contents insurance. In “no fault” situations like burst pipes, the OC repairs the common property while the lot owner repairs lot property. And each can claim on insurance for the consequential damage caused. The OC’s compulsory insurance will probably cover damage to lot fixtures and fittings but usually not to lot carpets if the OC is not liable. Hence the problem. The OC can’t even insure lot carpets even if it wanted to. It could however decide to pay anyway even if it was not liable.
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Austman.