Plumbing Issues in a Strata Scheme
Written on the 16 June 2021
What is the Plumbing Issue in a Strata Scheme?
The strata title is a form of ownership entitled to the owners of apartment blocks or subdivisions with common shared areas. Within the common shared areas, most of the issues are handled by the owner's corporation. The owner's corporation is formed to represent the lot owners in a strata property. They will be responsible for most of the problems occurring within the strata scheme.
Although the responsibilities of the owner's corporation are straightforward, it remains unclear to what extent the owner's corporation is responsible for plumbing issues. Here is the problem, most of the plumbing lines are interconnected and run through the common and private areas of the building. Most of these fittings are not visible, making it hard to pinpoint who is responsible when a plumbing issue arises. Hence, to understand the boundaries of the maintenance issues, you need to understand what comprises the strata lots.
How to Handle the Issue?
Lot owners are advised to immediately report the plumbing issue within your or common property to the strata board. Upon your notification, the owner's corporation will seek a professional help for further liability assessment. If the plumbing issue only calls for a minor repair, calling a board meeting will not be necessary. However, larger repairs may require an owner's corporation meeting to discuss the essential course of action. The NSW Department of Fair Trading offers a mediation session if you desire to speed up the repairing process.
In most cases, there is a 10-year plan capital works fund or reserve that can be taken out to cover the plumbing repair expenses. But, these problems often turn out to require complex assessment; and therefore, you need to ensure that you engage qualified consultants to understand your circumstances better.
Who is Responsible?
Determining the liability for plumbing issues depends on the cause of the water leak, which often can be challenging to locate. But, plumbers can point out and provide us with a comprehensive report of the problems that can be used as evidence to settle the dispute. The following is a description of the most common plumbing issues and who is liable for each:
1. Water leaks from one property to another: It depends on the source of the water leak. The owner's corporation's responsibility is if the leak is caused by the plumbing installed in the common property infrastructure. If the owner's internal plumbing fixture causes the leak, the responsibility falls under the private lot owner.
2. Bursting pipe: If there is a bursting pipe under your private property floor, it will usually be the owner corporation's responsibility to repair it. But, an exception applies when the issue is caused by the private lot owner, such as their dishwasher, kitchen sink, toilet, etc.
3. Damp or mouldy spots: The owner's corporation is responsible for any water penetration issues on the external wall, while the private lot owner is responsible for problems on the internal wall. Mould and dampness are often unrelated to the plumbing issues but instead, it is related to the construction of the complex. Therefore, a qualified builder will need to interfere to assess the condition.
4. Leaking shower: The private lot owner is responsible for this issue if the source of the leak is from an internal fixture. However, an exception can be made if there is evidence to prove otherwise.
How to Prevent Water Damage in a Strata Scheme?
Regular and proper maintenance of plumbing infrastructure is necessary to identify risk areas. Failing to schedule maintenance can result in a bigger problem, and at most times, insurance companies will not cover the cost of damages caused by poor maintenance. Hence, owners and the owner's corporation need to invest in a periodic maintenance.
Aside from regular maintenance, the owner's corporation can create a clear code of conduct concerning water usage, plumbing upgrades, sewage disposal, etc. With these approaches taken into account, both owners and owner's corporation can prevent plumbing issues from rising in the first place.
To find out more, Contact Noble Management Group
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