If you’re living in a strata building, it’s important to know who’s responsible for the maintenance costs in and around your apartment or lot. Here’s a quick rundown of which costs are paid by the owners corporation and which costs are paid by the owner.
Keep in mind, though, that strata schemes can vary from building to building – so it’s always best to check with your strata manager if you’re unsure of who should be paying for maintenance.
General rules of responsibility for maintenance in a NSW strata scheme
Whether it’s maintenance work or repairs that need to be done, here’s a breakdown of common areas and who’s responsible for paying:
The owners corporation must pay for maintenance inside the ceiling or on external areas such as ceiling cornices, TV aerials, plastering, or exhaust fans. The owner is responsible for paintwork done on ceilings inside the apartment, as well as certain interior ceiling features (this varies depending on the strata scheme).
Owners corporation must maintain or repair anything in the boundary walls. The owner holds responsibility for maintaining and repairing walls inside the apartment.
External features like columns and railings are strictly the responsibility of the owners corporation. Other features like doors, tiles, and awnings may need to be paid for by the owner or the owners corporation depending on the scheme and the location of the feature.
If the light fittings are recessed in the ceiling, they are the owners corporation’s responsibility. If they hang into the apartment, they are the owner’s responsibility.
The owner must pay for cleaning and maintenance of interior carpeting. The owners corporation repairs and maintains common property carpets, such as carpets in hallways.
According to Strata Community Australia NSW, the owners corporation is responsible for fixing the following plumbing problems:
- Blocked floor drains
- Blocked sewers
- Guttering on townhouses
- Main stopcock to apartment
Other issues that are more of a grey area include:
- Damage to apartment from water leak
- Dampness in an apartment
- Water seeping into garage
- Water leaking from shower
- Water leaking through tiles
Generally speaking, if the area affected (such as a leak or a blockage in a pipe) is in an external area of the building, it’s the responsibility of the owners corporation. If it’s within the interior of an apartment, the owner is responsible for paying. The same goes for general maintenance. For more information, see our guide to strata plumbing.
Your strata plan should outline the boundaries of common garden areas and courtyards. Maintenance of these common areas typically falls with the owners corporation. However, if you have a private courtyard or trees growing within your lot, you are responsible for maintenance such as pruning or mowing.
Maintenance of windows and security doors should generally be paid for by the owners corporation, but there are some exceptions.
Remember the above is general in nature and can vary from building to building so it’s always important to check with your strata manager first about who is responsible for repairs that come up in your strata building.
To find out more about maintenance and repairs costs in NSW strata apartments, see Strata Community Australia NSW’s guide to common property.