Dealing With Water Damage – Who Is Responsible? - SSKB - Strata Managers | Community Experts

Dealing With Water Damage – Who Is Responsible?

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.

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Recent 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,


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.


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 ?

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.



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.


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