When living in a strata property, one of the most common issues that can arise is that of plumbing. If your plumbing goes awry, who is responsible for fixing it? What happens when you start experiencing water damage? Who do you go to when you notice water seeping up through the tiles?
Despite all parties taking the necessary precautions to avoid water damage, instances can still occur. Therefore, it is important to know whether handling it is the responsibility of the owners corporation or the lot owner.
What plumbing issues are the owners corporation responsible for?
According to Strata Community Australia NSW and NSW Government Department of Fair Trading, the owners corporation is generally responsible for issues that occur on ceilings, boundary walls and balconies. This includes:
- Burst pipes in boundary walls
- Burst pipes that service multiple units
- Any plumbing beneath the floor (eg. water from the shower not draining)
- Water seepage through the external walls or floor
- Blocked floor drains
- Blocked sewers
- Guttering on townhouses
- Main stopcock to units
What plumbing issues are the individual lot owners responsible for?
According to NSW Fair Trading, “the basic rule is that everything inside the airspace of the unit, including all internal walls, fixtures, carpet and paint on the walls is usually the lot and therefore the responsibility of the lot owner.” This includes issues such as:
- Faulty showerheads or taps
- Broken sinks or faucets
- Faulty baths, showers, toilets and dishwashers
- Damp, mould and mildew on the internal walls
- Water leaks from neighbouring lots (depending on the source of the water, this will likely be the responsibility of your neighbour)
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How do I handle water damage?
If the damage occurs in the middle of the night
The building manager is responsible for responding and acting on the issue immediately. This is because, when the issue occurs, the source is usually unclear. As such, the owners corporation will be responsible for arranging for a plumber or similar professional to handle the problem immediately.
If the damage exceeds the insurance deductible
If the damage to a lot owner’s property exceeds the insurance deductible of the owners corporation, the affected parties are able to submit an insurance claim through the owners corporation’s policy. The corporation will pay for these damages and then be reimbursed by the insurer.
If another property owner is responsible for the damage
If the water damage originates from another lot owner, the owners corporation may assign responsibility to that lot owner and ask them for a reimbursement of the insurance deductible. It is also important to note that most owners corporations will include a chargeback by-law that allows them to claim the deductible without going to court.
Do you have questions about plumbing and water damage on your strata property? Get in touch with our team today for more information on our range of strata management services or explore our document bank for more information.