Living in a strata title complex has many benefits, but also requires additional laws and rules to define ownership and responsibility in a number of areas, including obligations for maintenance and repairs. This is where understanding who is required to maintain and repair problems becomes tricky – no more so than with issues relating to water damage.
Basically, there are 3 possible options for maintenance and repairs in strata living:
To make it slightly more intricate with water damage, there is an added complexity of it sometimes being difficult to determine the source of the water damage - which may require investigation in internal walls and structures that are not open to easy visual assessment. Also, the place where the water damage has occurred may not be the source of the problem – and it is necessary to establish the source of the problem to identify who is responsible.
Below is a simple concept to use as the starting point:
In strata titles, the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation (OC) is generally responsible for the maintenance of the building. This may include roofs and guttering. However, some States and Territories have different classifications for buildings such as Queensland with the Standard Format Plan and Building Format Plan options and so the roof, for example, may actually be the responsibility of the Lot Owner.
In the first instance of water damage occurring, the source needs to be identified and can be from the following:
Costs for repairing water damage is also determined by the category of the water causing the damage - Clean Water, Grey Water or Black Water.
If your property has a Building Manager, they should be your first point of contact if you come across any strata plumbing issues. Contacting your insurance company and your Body Corporate Management company would be your next steps in the process.
Insurance adds to the complexity of it all for two reasons:
In order to have optimum coverage (and this also can vary State to State), in a tenanted strata property there will need to be 3 different policies for the property:
So take the time to understand the intricacies of your ‘building’ and get the right insurance cover for your property based on your level of ownership. Make sure as a landlord or owner occupier, that your property has the right amount of coverage for the fixtures and fittings you are responsible for within the building structure, and, as a landlord, that your tenant is aware that they are responsible for insuring their own furniture and belongings.
In order to try and prevent the complex issue of water damage becoming a costly problem, there are important things that can be done to ensure peace of mind (prevention is better than cure):
Ensure you have a reliable contact for emergency repairs that is available 24/7. Having this available as an owner occupier, or the information available for your tenant, can help quickly with those unforeseeable problems that happen suddenly (hot water system bursting in the middle of the night for example) and help prevent unnecessary damage.
We have been in the Strata Living industry since 1995 and have an expert team of Ace Body Corporate Managers here to help. Get in contact with your local manager today.