Afternoon thunderstorms are part and parcel of living in most areas of New South Wales. And while the prospect of torrential downpour rolling in out of nowhere to mercifully take the sting out of the heat of the day is a very enticing one, it also brings that old foe to the fore: water damage. Storm season brings brief but intense downpours, causing water to find its way into the most outlandish of places. This can fudge the outlines of who is responsible for water damage. So who should you be talking to if you do suffer water damage this storm season?
For owners on properties with a Building Manager, this person is your first port of call. The Building Manager will identify responsibility for repairs. It is important to recognise responsibility is divided between the Owners Corporation and individual lot owners. Under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW), the Owners Corporation is basically responsible for maintaining common property (s62), while lot owners are responsible for the interior of individual lots.
Water damage occurring to individual units will is the responsibility of the owner. Damage from things such as leaving a window or a door open will be paid for by the owner. The Owners Corporation’s responsibility is 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.
Further, 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 Owners Corporation.
Storm water damage usually necessitates being assessed on a case by case basis, as the offending water can originate a long way from where it is causing you damage. 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.
While there is unfortunately no magic wand to wave over water damage, and the nature of living in Australia means such events can and do occur. This storm season, 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.