Water is leaking from the unit above and has caused damage to the ceiling paintwork and to my carpet. Who is responsible for payment of the repairs?

21 October 2013

The ceiling is generally considered common property and the Owners Corporation’s responsibility to repair. The lot owner is responsible however for the paintwork and carpet damage, irrespective of cause, except when it is damaged by the Owners Corporation while carrying out work to the common property. (Section 65(6)

The Owners Corporation must insure the building and keep the building insured under a damage policy with an approved insurer under the Strata Schemes Management Act.

Under Section 81 of the Act, the building includes:

  • Owner’s improvements and owner’s fixtures forming part of the building other than paint, wallpaper & temporary wall, floor & ceiling coverings

The following items are excluded from the definition of “building” and so are not required to be insured by the Owners Corporation:

  • Paints, varnishes, stains & similar treatments
  • Carpets & underlay
  • Wallpaper, fabric or similar soft wall and ceiling finishes.
  • Coverings of vinyl, cork or similar material which are not fixed with an adhesive to the floor
  • Curtains & blinds within the lot
  • Light fittings or other electrical appliances which are not built into the lot and which can be removed without interference to the electrical wiring.

It is generally recommended that Owners & Occupiers should each obtain their own contents insurance to cover personal property owned by each of them, i.e. carpet, paint etc. In this case, repairs to the paint damage and carpet within your lot are your responsibility and you should make a claim under your own home contents insurance policy, if you have one.