Dealing With Water Damage – Who Is Responsible? - SSKB

Dealing With Water Damage – Who Is Responsible?


Who is responsible for water damage?

Water has an incredible ability to find its way into all sorts of strange places.  In community schemes, this can quickly fudge the outlines of who is responsible for water damage.  So who should you be talking to if you suffer water damage?  And what are you responsible for?

For owners in a property with a Building Manager, this person should always be your first port of call in a case of water damage, as they will identify responsibility for repairs.  It is important to recognise responsibility is divided between the Owners Corporation or Body Corporate and individual lot owners.  Bodies corporate/owners corporations are generally responsible for maintaining common property.  This might include damage occurring as a result of defects in roofing, water leaking down through walls or pipes and gutters servicing multiple apartments.  Lot owners are responsible for the interior of individual lots, which includes damage from things such as leaving a window or a door open, or leaving a tap running.

If the individual owner fails to maintain their individual unit and so causes damage to another owner’s unit, the first owner may be expected to make good the damage suffered as a result of their failure to maintain.  This might occur where water to leaks into an apartment below as a result of failing to maintain drains or pipes servicing an individual unit.  In such a situation, if the water leaks through the floor, this is common property and may also involve the Body Corporate.

Water damage from storms or during the wet season, as well as damage from leaking pipes, usually necessitates being assessed on a case by case basis.  The offending water can originate a long way from where it is causing you damage, especially if it has come from.  This creates many unique situations when it comes to assigning repair responsibility, but we always strive to obtain the best possible result for lot owners when repairs are made.

SSKB Community Managers work as quickly and as efficiently as possible to repair damage involving common property, and to work with individual owners suffering damage.  We understand the far reaching effects water damage can have, and it is important for us to take into account for all the details when assessing the damage and assigning responsibility.

There is unfortunately no magic wand to wave over water damage – which can be a reoccurring nuisance if not dealt with properly from the outset.  Aside from any leaky pipes, the nature of living in Australia means extreme rain events can and do occur.  Regardless of how your property may have been affected by damage, SSKB will work hard to ensure damage is quickly and effectively repaired to a high standard by the relevant parties, with the best outcome for our communities.

If you would like to see how SSKB can guide your Committees through damages to your building, click here to work with a Strata company who cares. 

To see how your building can prevent damages from occurring click here to learn more. 



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Recent Comments

42 Comments

Shannon On July 13, 2017 | Reply

I have suffered water damage to my unit by a plumber organised by body corporate that I had nothing to do with! And the leak has completely ruined my carpet and underlay and the plumber and body corporate have both said they want nothing to do with it which is now costing me thousands to replace the carpet!

Barrie James On July 13, 2017 | Reply

My unit suffered major water damage due to pot plant on the balcony above as well as faulty workmanship in the building itself which has resulted in major structural work being carried out to rectify the issues. However although the Body Corp. were informed of the problems and sent numerous photo’s of the damage created internally in my unit, I still have not received a reply on compensation for the damage which I had to bear the cost myself.

Brett On August 2, 2017 | Reply

It’s is great how this body corporate posts how to deal with these problems then won’t even respond to complaints that they should be sorting. I think most if not all body corporates are only there to collect their fees and don’t won’t to deal with any difficult issues. I have to deal with many different body corps and these guys are up there with the worst of them.

    SSKB On August 11, 2017 | Reply

    Hi Brett,

    As you are aware, we have submitted your claim to the insurer and unfortunately they have ruled that the water damage is not a body corporate issue. If you would like further explanation on this, please don’t hesitate to contact your Community Manager.

    Kind regards,

    SSKB

Shelly On July 19, 2018 | Reply

Could you please advise if the strata or the landlord is liable for the resultant damage of water leak and inadequate waterproofing?

My office is on the ground floor of a mixed two level building. Water ran down from the common area of 2nd floor balcony, damaged our false ceiling and internal wall. The strata repaired the building defect and water proof but refused to fix the resultant damage to our office which is commercial leased. The strata asked us to claim insurance against the strata or the landlord’s insurance if. Could you please advise me who is responsible to repair the internal damage in our office, the strata or the landlord? Thank you very much.

    SSKB On July 23, 2018 | Reply

    Good day Shelly,
    It sounds like the Body Corporate have correctly rectified the cause of the water egress and the ceiling of your tenancy.

    The Owner of the Lot and yourself as tenant would also have an arrangement via your Lease, to which no one else would be a party to, so we are unable to comment.

    What we can say is that the Body Corporate insurance does not cover damage or loss to any contents of any Lot, ie carpets, furniture, equipment etc. We believe this is a claim against your own contents insurance policy with the details of the cause of the leak needing to be added to your claim with your insurer. Your insurer may then take up the issue with the Body Corporate insurer, but that may only be on a case by case scenario.

    I hope we have provided some clarity for you.

Mr. Kev Cheney On September 8, 2018 | Reply

I have a unit in a complex of 39 units and water has entered my unit through my ceiling. The water has now found its way through all my wooden floating floors. The damage exceeds $20,000.00 and The Insurer of my building states that their insurance does not cover floors however the assessor said that they now cover floors either from 1/7/17 or 1/7/18 not sure which year he said. In 2014 The Chairman of The Body Corporate said the leek entering unit 202 from unit 303 was now fixed. I asked what they did to fix the leek but have had no answer.I moved into my unit on the 31/1/2107 and noticed water dripping from my ceiling mid 2017 and informed The Body Corporate.
The fault was caused by two cracks in the down water pipe that runs from the Penthouse down past all the units on the western side. What the name of a Solicitor that will take my case. Kev

    SSKB On September 13, 2018 | Reply

    Hello Mr Cheney,
    We suggest that standard Body Corporate policy would not cover floating timber floors, this would need to be covered by a contents policy taken out by you as the Owner. However, as the source of the water leak was due to a Body Corporate maintenance issue, there are specifics that need to be explored and we think your approach to seek specific advice is wise.

    There are many competent Solicitors who specialise in Body Corporate Matters. Within QLD we suggest the following will be able to provide assistance:-

    – Andrew Redburn – Active Law
    – Andrew Suttie – Nicholsons Solicitors

Christopher Dry On September 14, 2018 | Reply

My unit recently got water damage from a drain in the laundry which backed up and flooded water through half of my apartment. The unit above mine lodged a call with strata the day before about blocked drainage from their laundry. Both our laundries share the same main line. A plumber went to their apartment the morning of my leak, about an hour after I left for work. They eventually cleared it via water pressure later that morning. I came home at 5pm to find water throughout my apartment which has damaged my floating laminate floor. According to the strata manager, the pipe had been eroding due to age (old apartment building) and had become rough/coarse, leading to stuff snagging and eventually causing a blockage. While clearing it, my apartment got flooded. The strata insurance policy doesn’t cover floating flooring until it’s renewed early next year, so the Strata manager is refusing to pay or do anything aside from getting the pipe fixed/replaced.

Should I be chasing strata about this to get my repairs paid?

    SSKB On September 24, 2018 | Reply

    Hi Christopher,
    As unfortunate and disappointing for you as your scenario sounds, I have to support the comments from your Strata Manager. It sounds like it is a common property drainage pipe which is the cause of the blockage and cause for your damage. However, I believe all Strata policies do not cover for floating timber floors / carpets, this would need to be an item for your personal contents insurance policy.

Annette On November 20, 2018 | Reply

There is a tap on the outside of my Dining window which is the apartments grounds not mine ..this tap continuously was leaking i reported this several times in nearly 3 years as it leaks it goes under the foundation of the building which now ,
water damage has affected my walls, skirting boards,floating floor boards please advise who is responsible to pay for my floors and walls and skirtings please , im the owner thankyou

    Emma Smith On December 21, 2018 | Reply

    Good afternoon Annette,
    There are various aspects to your query which we will address separately.
    1. Who owns the tap? Is this a shared tap or solely for the use of one Lot Owner / Resident? If it is a shared tap then your advice about the leak should have gone to the Body Corporate Manager or Building Manager if relevant. If the tap only services 1 Lot, then you request should have gone to the Lot Owner or the Body Corporate Manager to forward to the relevant Lot Owner.
    2. Water damage. It sounds like this water damage has occurred over time, which we suggest prevents this being an insurance claim, as there is no single event which was the cause of the damage, which forms a significant aspect to being an insurable event. From your description, there are structural components and non structural components. The structural components may be a Body Corporate issue to address, depending on which type of plan the Body Corporate is registered under – ie a Building Format Plan (BFP). If your Body Corporate is a Standard Format Plan (SFP). If the Body Corporate is registered under a SFP then we suggest this is not an issue for the Body Corporate to rectify.
    We hope this has assisted you in this circumstance.

    Regards

Peter Viney On March 1, 2019 | Reply

I have read through the scenarios people have endured above.
I have a similar issue where water has leaked through the cavity that pipes from apartments above mine run through due to inadequate water proofing in an apartment bathroom 2 above mine. This has been repaired on the cheap twice before, and, finally repaired properly I’m told, a third time. In the meantime, I have had to get my antique rugs cleaned as a result of the leaks. Is this an issue I need to resolve via my contents insurance or can I pursue this with the owners corporation or owner of the apartment, (who is not willing to pay)?

Lindsay McKay On March 30, 2019 | Reply

I have a ground floor apartment. A garden bed contained by a low brick wall had its garden bed against my outer wall and above the damp course. Moisture penetrated the wall over time rotting the carpet along that wall. As the garden bed was incorrectly built and should never have been built above the damp course, I believe this damage should be rectified by Body Corporate even though carpet is not usually covered.

Sally On April 24, 2019 | Reply

Hi There. I have just been notified that there is a leak from behind my shower wall from the bath/shower combination taps that is leaking downstairs in the garage below. One shower wall will need to be pulled apart, tapwork repaired/replaced and then reinstated/retiled. Is this something that would be claimable on the body corporate insurance?

Michelle On June 9, 2019 | Reply

My external garage roof is leaking when it rains.
Water has now damaged the plaster ceiling internal. I sole with the builder and Body Corporate and had a builder submit a report as magic structural problem.
Builder has came out and refused this as building approximately 6 years old and deemed it as age.
Who is to pay for this?
Body corporate, or if insurance I only have contents so is this their insurance ?

katrina On June 29, 2019 | Reply

Hi. My building was built prior to 1990 and is a 3 story walk up. After no use of my bath area for 6 months it was then used after inspecting I had a tile fall off and the gyprock behind remained wet I noticed it right around to opposite end of bathtub. I informed onsite manager, committee and started removal of wall tiles worried as the unit below me had leaked to the one below recently and it has happened in many other units throughout the complex. There was no waterproofing and i have photos of the tile glue on gyprock and rotten timber framing and rusted out metal framing behind. I was informed that the body corporate would pay the waterproofing. However after removal of entire bathroom and paying myself for the labour costs of walls and framing to be reinstated in order for the membrane to be applied was told that they would not pay for the product cost of materials for a suitable base membrane or the waterproofing to be completed that was not in exsistance initially. I offered to remove and have them send in contractors instead to complete work to still be denied. After many months despite asking for a reply in 2 weeks I believe initially I now also have accumulated around $200 in laundry costs due to being unable to use the washing machine in this area. I had been suggested to lodge with our insurance instead however i realise the large excess in place already for water damage and the new looking into claims from faulty buildings. I also have insurance should I lodge with them instead and have request the body corporate pay the excess on this instead. I did have mentioned breaching the body corporate otherwise as I have shown significant attempts to reach a resolution and have been left with an un operational bathroom now for 6 months with inadequate correspondance.

Jessie On July 12, 2019 | Reply

In NSW…

We have this water leaking issue in our lot’s bathroom. The cause has been identified as from the lot above – and thru our ceiling. We understand that it’s the lot owner and the strata manager, since the ceiling is the common property, have the responsibility to rectify the issue.

However, the strata manager has been very passive and incompetent, just waiting for the lot owner’s response, while the lot owner has been very uncooperative.

I have gone back and forth many time with the manager… but got no result. Could you please advise how I should escalate the issue, eg. before going to the Tribunal? Is Strata Committee is a proper forum?

Anthony On August 7, 2019 | Reply

The unit next to my bedroom has an adjoining wall where the balustrade side post butts up against my bedroom wall.

When it would rain water would leak under the wall onto the floor slab from the side post of the balustrade.

Water tests have been carried out with a hose and it was identified that the water was originating from the side balustrade post. Most likely because the Rapid Wall has been compromised, possibly due to the balustrade side post been screwed into the wall.

The Owners Committee were advised by 3 different specialist companies that it would be recommended and best to remove the balustrade, address the issue behind the side post, e.g repair the holes (if any) in the rapid wall, paint with a waterproof membrane paint and install a new balustrade that does not fix to the side wall.

In the meantime a construction sealant was used to seal around the side post until the work to remove the balustrade could be done. About 1 week later laminate floorboards where put down on the bedroom floor in question. There is no evidence of the water coming in, but it is difficult to know with the laminate floorboards now in place.

The Owners Committee now say that the sealant is a good enough solution and will no longer agree to fix the root cause by removing the balustrade.

My concern is that whilst the water ingress may be resolved the root cause still exists and will be an issue should the sealant fail.

My question is if the Owners Committee are within their rights to say that the sealant has addressed the issue and not remove the balustrade to fix the root cause that still exists?

Max On September 19, 2019 | Reply

Hi there. Apologies I had some grammatical errors in my previous post. Hope this updated post makes sense.
Please help me rectify this.
I Have a unit and the unit owner below my unit advised there is water leaking into their unit and they believe the leak is coming from my unit where the shower is located.

I’m currently overseas and I have a tenant in my unit and they advised the bedroom wall opposite the shower is getting moldy.

We engaged the body Corp/owners Corp and the body Corp called a servicing company for observation and from their observation they think the leak is coming from my unit and I was charged $1,200 just for visual observation.

They want to do a water testing and this cost additional $1,300 and the body Corp want me to pay all these fees. My question is. Why the body Corp/owners Corp is not paying for these and why are they charging me?

What happens if repairs needs to be done to fix the water leaks? Who will pay for these? Please help me answer these questions.
Thank you so much in advance.

    Emma Smith On September 19, 2019 | Reply

    Good morning,

    Your scenario is not a good one for all concerned and we feel for you, your tenant and the resident below.

    From what you have outlined it sounds like the source of the water leak is NOT an overflowing bath, sink, a dishwasher failure or similar. The source of the leak may be from a leaking water supply pipe located within the slab or within a wall, it could be the shower combination too. If the leak only appears periodically, then the source of the leak could be from a faulty shower recess where the waterproof membrane has failed or the waste drain is faulty / damaged, it could be a worn door seal in a dishwasher.

    We suggest the reason why these exploratory costs have been forwarded to you for payment is due to the source of the leak is coming from within your unit (Lot) and it is from utility infrastructure which only services your Lot.

    If the water pipes or drains were a shared facility with another Lot or common property, then the costs would be a Body Corporate responsibility.

    The value of $1,200 appears high for just a visual inspection, so we suggest you need to see a copy of the contractor invoice to verify what works were undertaken, prior to being able to judge the value for works undertaken.

    Further, we offer commentary that the cost to repair this leak will probably not be a valid insurance claim, however, pending the wording of the Body Corporate insurance policy,, the exploratory works may be a valid insurance claim.

    We hope this answers your query.

    Regards

    SSKB

Max On September 20, 2019 | Reply

Dear Emma Smith.
Thank you so much for taking the time in answering my questions.

The water testing has been done to both my unit and the unit above mine.

The water report suggests that there is also a leak from the unit above mine also so there is multiple units affected.
The shower of the unit above mine was leaking & causing water Ingress into my unit.

They also did water testing to my unit shower and it found to be causing water leak ingress coming down the leak control flange in the laundry room of below unit.

It had been determined that there is a failed waterproofing in both showers of my unit and the unit above mine and it requires to be demolished, re-waterproofed & tiled to solve the issue.

The Body Corp/Owners Corp is saying that this is not claimable on their insurance as this is wear & tear and they are now saying the matter is now out their control and they want us to bear the cost of repairs.

Please help me. 😢😭😭
What should I do?

    Emma Smith On September 26, 2019 | Reply

    Hi Max,

    Apologies for the delay.

    Unfortunate as this is for all the residents and owners, we have to agree with the details you have been provided.

    It sounds like the Body Corporate is a development of at least 10 years of age and the shower combinations have corroded and failed in your Unit and the unit above. I believe it would be a safe bet that all shower combinations at the complex would be in a similar state of repair.

    The costs to replace the shower combination as well as the re-waterproofing are not a cost of the Body Corporate, but a cost of the individual Owner as only the Lot Owner derives benefit from the said shower.

    Possibly if yourself and the Owner above you undertook these works at the same time, you may be able to negotiate a better rate with the contractor who you engage.

    We hope this provides clarity for you.

Max On September 26, 2019 | Reply

Thanks Emma.

The Building is actually 7 years old.
Will this make any difference?

    Emma Smith On September 26, 2019 | Reply

    Hi Max,

    The age of the building does not alter who is responsible, however the structural building defect period is 6 years and 6 months from the practical completion date for the building, where possibly you could have claimed this as a building defect against the Builder. As it appears this matter is outside of this time frame, unfortunately we do not think this is an avenue that you could pursue.

Max On September 26, 2019 | Reply

Many Thanks Emma.

I’ll see what what I can do.

Cheers

Michelle Baines On October 16, 2019 | Reply

A Flexi hose burst in toilet upstairs and flooded the house as the property is only three nearly four years old it should be going through builders insurance and carpets should be covered due to them being brand new when moved in and they are going through strata and not even attempting to go through the builders insurance plumbers reports states all pipes need to be replaced in townhouse due to subject to more flooding . I need to advice on how to find this

Tracey On October 16, 2019 | Reply

Hi Max,
The Building Manager of my apartment building confronted me today asking to see in my rented apartment as the unit adjoining to my unit has wet carpet on their side of the wall. The Building Manager inspect the bathroom and obtained my Real Estate’s phone number who sent out a plumber to inspect the bathroom. The Building Manager said I will have to pay for carpet to be replaced in the adjoining apartment which they manage.
The wall inside my bathroom show no signs of water damage and is not wet. I have a washing machine on the other side of the bathroom which has a small leak. There is a drain underneath the washing machine and there is a drain in the middle of the bathroom. The floor is dry throughout the bathroom. There is a mat on the floor and a clothes basket which are also dry. The washing machine had not been used for 3 days. The plumber checked my bathroom and didn’t think the washing machine has caused the leak. He then checked the unit next door and still couldn’t say for certain that it was the washing machine. I contacted the Real Estate later that day who said the plumber said it was the washing machine and they have organised for a carpet cleaner to clean the unit next door at my expense. I am concerned that water leak may have come from the unit above and I am being blamed for damage which I did not cause. I am appreciative of the Real Estate acting so quickly but I concern this is not the reason for the water leak. Surely there would be signs in the bathroom of the wall being damp. There is a bath up against the wall and a sink. Could the plumbing in the wall have caused the damage?

    Emma Smith On October 17, 2019 | Reply

    Good afternoon Tracey,

    We write in response to the scenario you have described.

    We consider the actions taken by the Real Estate Agent to be fair and reasonable and it is good to see they were timely to address the situation for the benefit of all parties. However, to jump to the conclusion that your washing machine caused the water damage to the carpets appears to be a long reach.

    Yes, it is possible that there is a leak coming from within the wall that is causing this water in the adjacent unit, however, without visually inspecting the inside of the wall, this is all guess work.

    We consider the request for payment from yourself for the water damage in the adjacent unit as an initial put on and is premature without any Plumbers report following investigation into the real source of the water leak ie within the wall. Further to this, water damage to flooring is a claimable event under an Insurance policy. The relevant insurance policy is that of the adjacent Unit Owner on their contents policy. Water damage to carpet is generally an exclusion under the Body Corporate insurance policy.

    However, if evidence supports that the source of the water leak is within your unit (and not the Body Corporate common water pipe / drains), then recovery of the Insurance excess from the adjacent unit owners contents policy is not an unreasonable request. However, we suggest the excess will be larger than the cost of drying the carpet.

    To move forward, we consider some exploratory work for the real water leak is required and that may need to be from within your unit.

    We hope this has assisted you with this matter.

    Regards

Rory Brown On October 21, 2019 | Reply

who pays for water damaged caused to the carpets in a unit if the water has come from the sprinkler system in the common space (corridor) Please Help

Martin On November 8, 2019 | Reply

I forgot to turn off the tap and has flooded my unit and next door. I am willing to pay for my neighbour clean up cost but they want me to pay for the new carpet. Their carpet is almost 20 years and is poor condition. I knew as i lived there before.

Can I pay for % of new carpet instead taking depreciation into account? thx

david On November 29, 2019 | Reply

Hi Max,

I have a bath tub leaking problem at my unit. The plumber qouted it cost about $1400 to seal around the bath tub perimeter and some tiles. The problem is who should response this cost? One plubmer told me that the strata should response to it as one side of the bath tub is connected with the common wall, is’t right?

Thanks & Regards
David

    Emma Smith On February 24, 2020 | Reply

    Good afternoon David,

    From the initial sound of your bath tub leak it sounds like the water is leaking from the bath inside your bathroom onto the floor of your unit. With this level of detail we believe the fixing of the cause of the leak from the bathtub would be the best approach, rather than applying sealant to the floor. The sealant would only be a short term fix to stop further leaking and damage.

    We believe the cost of such a repair to your bathtub would be the responsibility of you as the Lot Owner and not a Body Corporate expense as this relates to the inside of your Lot / unit only.

    We hope this assists you in this matter.

Max On December 3, 2019 | Reply

Hi Emma again,

I need to fix the shower of my unit as it’s leaking water into below unit.

I was told to demolish my shower and re-waterproof the shower as a matter of urgency.

I wanted to a you. Do you know any contractor based in Melbourne who can carry these work repairs?

I appreciate it if you can provide me links.

Thanks in advance

Teresa Fazzolari On February 9, 2020 | Reply

I live in apartment block and due to very heavy rain I have water coming in through one of the windows on the balcony and water coming in through the sliding door which has resulted in wet carpet. Is the strata responsible in finding out why the water is coming in and fixing the problem. Thanks.

    Emma Smith On February 24, 2020 | Reply

    Good afternoon Teresa,

    We write in response to your enquiry regarding water egress via your window and sliding door.

    We are writing assuming that your unit is located within a Body Corporate which was registered under a Building Format Plan (BFP). Under a BFP, the exterior of your Lot is the responsibility of the Body Corporate. One variant to this is whether your balcony is on your Title or if it is an Exclusive Use area (which is common property).

    The coordination of investigating any such leak as you have described should be discussed and coordinated via your Body Corporate Manager or Resident Manager / Caretaker to reduce any duplication of services and possible dispute over who should pay the contractor.

    However, in saying this, the resultant damage that water egress may cause will be to your flooring and or personal belongings which will not be covered under any Body Corporate Insurance policy, so if necessary, your diligence to establish the cause of the leak would minimise any damage and inconvenience to you personally.

    If your unit is relatively new, then the fault may be related to the construction of the complex and recourse may be via the Builder.

    We hope this has assisted you in this matter.

    Regards

Radi On February 15, 2020 | Reply

Hi,
My unit is on the top floor and during the severe storm and heavy rain over the weekend my timber floors flooded in my living and dining area.
Water came in from the roof. Waterproofing wasn’t done properly and the roof hasn’t been maintained very well.
2 years ago we decided to put floor boards over the tiles in the living area because of the kids.
Who is now responsible for the damage to my timber floors? I don’t have content insurance and I believe strata should be liable to pay for the damage since the leak came from the outside.
Please let me know what my rights are
Thanks

    Emma Smith On February 24, 2020 | Reply

    Good afternoon Radi,

    We write in response to your enquiry regarding water damage from heavy rains.

    We assume from, your description that your unit is in a Body Corporate high rise (of some form) and that your unit is not a townhouse. From this assumption, we assume that your Body Corporate has been subdivided under a Building Format Plan (BFP). This would mean that the Body Corporate is responsible for the effective waterproofing of the shared common property roof.

    If there is a question over the effectiveness of the construction method used, then this should be raised with the Builder of the complex if the building is less than 6 yrs 3 months of age.

    Regarding the floating timber floors you have installed. On our initial knowledge from your description, we believe the timber floors will not be covered under the Body Corporate insurance policy. These would only be covered under as contents policy. However, as the cause of the leak was via the common property roof, there is an argument that this is the Body Corporate responsibility.

    We hope this has assisted you in this matter.

    Regards

Robert On February 24, 2020 | Reply

Hi Emma,
My daughter’s apartment suffered serious leaking through the ceilings and light fixtures in both the bedroom and lounge room following a major rain storm. The plumber’s subsequent report indicated that an internal downpipe overflowed, causing the leaking. The carpet in the bedroom has to be replaced, which she’s been told by the Body Corporate (BC) has to be claimed under her Contents policy. Similarly, the cost of re-painting the stained ceilings has to be formally rejected by her Contents insurer before they consider paying for this rectification (and that they may only pay part of the accepted quote). Her excess fee to claim under the Contents policy is $600.00, and she believes that it is only reasonable the BC pay this amount given the source of the damage is structural (and therefore the BC’s responsibility).

The BC has also advised that, because the downpipe was built in accordance with the approved planning permit, they do not believe that any work needs to be done to prevent a repeat in future of such an incident other than a quarterly check and clearing of any debris by the plumber. We don’t believe this is acceptable and what happens if it occurs again? Would appreciate your comments on this matter.

    Emma Smith On February 24, 2020 | Reply

    Good afternoon Robert,

    We write in response to the unfortunate water damage experienced by your daughter within her apartment.

    We have assumed from your description that the apartment is located within a strata complex that is not a townhouse, ie the Body Corporate was registered under a Building Format Plan (BFP).

    Under a BFP the Body Corporate will have an insurance policy in place to cover the buildings and common contents for loss and damage. Therefore, lodging a claim under the Body Corporate policy is the correct approach.

    The cause of the water egress is a further issue which warrants further details to be clarified. I am assuming that the shared / common property roof gutter & downpipe has overflowed for whatever reason and your daughters apartment is on the top level of the building, hence the water has entered the apartment via the exterior surface of the building (ie a ceiling.)

    However, carpets and floating timber floors are generally an exclusion under a Strata policy. This will be able to be verified if you speak with the Body Corporate Insurance underwriter or Broker. You can communicate directly with the Broker / Underwriter to establish their position if you wish to work around the Body Corporate Manager. Depending on the circumstances, the cost to reinstate your flooring on this occasion would appear to be a reasonable request of the Body Corporate due to the cause of the water egress.

    Water damage to the walls and ceiling would normally be covered under the Body Corporate policy with the excess payable by the Body Corporate. You should confirm this with the Broker / Underwriter.

    Maintenance. Generally before any insurance claim is finalised, the Underwriter will require proof of an action or cause of the water egress event, so we would think that engaging a plumber to inspect would be a logical action by the Body Corporate Manager to finalise this claim and to also prevent a reoccurrence.

    We hope this has provided some clarity for you with this issue.

    Regards

Robert On February 25, 2020 | Reply

Hi Emma,
Thanks so much for your prompt response and for clarifying a number of issues – it is very useful information. One thing I may need to clarify is that the Body Corp has had their plumber inspect the site of the leak (an internal downpipe) but still determined that the event was a ‘one-off’, that the down-pipe was built in accordance with the approved planning permit, and that apart from introducing a quarterly check by the plumber (including any clearing of debris), there is no need to take any further action.

Our concern remains that if there a re-occurrence, then where does the liability of the Owners Corp stand and what actions could my daughter take should they not take responsibility to fully redress any damages incurred (eg. would she need to take legal action)?

Regards,

Robert.

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