BY: JOHN ATKINSON, SSKB SUNSHINE COAST GENERAL MANAGER
In periods of heavy rain (which we often experience in Sunshine Coast), water often finds a way to cause a nuisance inside as well as outside.
For owners, committees, building managers and body corporate managers this create the need for some thorough investigation and a hard look at the QLD Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
In basic terms, the body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of common property and each owner is responsible for the interior of his or her lot. Bring into the equation the fact that the developer/builder has an ongoing responsibility to repair any structural faults within six and a quarter years of the date of Practical Completion.
Seems like determining who has the responsibility for water leaks is pretty clean cut then… Or, what if:
And so on… Perhaps it’s not quite so easy after all.
For owners in Bodies Corporate where there is a Building Manager, he or she should be your first port of call (sorry, there seems to be water everywhere!). If he or she is uncertain, your body corporate manager is next.
Then, responsibility for the necessary repairs will need to be clearly determined and the date of Practical Completion identified. If body corporate expenditure is involved, the committee or a representative of the committee (in larger buildings it is sometimes a good idea to have a building sub-committee) will need to be involved. This will also mean some delay because alternate quotes may be required and, perhaps, that magic word ‘insurance’.
We would ask for patience here, recognising that this is an incredibly frustrating experience for the lot owner.
But, if you were an uninvolved lot owner, I am sure that you would want care taken to ensure that your levies are not spent on repairs that are not a body corporate responsibility and that if it is a body corporate responsibility, as little as necessary is spent.
Oh yes, I do believe you were promised the answers as well.
Situations may vary to alter the circumstances above and it is important to remember that water can travel a long way from where it starts.
Hopefully, though, the above information may help if water problems come your way.