This question from ACT on who is responsible for replacing windows has been answered by Jan Browne, Whittles Strata Partners.
Question: In our older Class A building, the windows need replacing due to failing locks. Would this be an owners corporation or lot owner responsibility to fix?
We own a Class A apartment on the ground floor in a multi level apartment complex. The complex is around 20 years old.
Over the last 12 months the locks on our external sliding windows have begun to fail. Some will not lock (meaning that the windows cannot be secured except using dowel rods in the tracks), and some will not unlock (meaning we cannot open the windows).
We have had a window expert come to assess the problem. Because of the style of window locking mechanism, the whole window including the frames will have to be replaced.
My initial read is that the windows and all their moving parts are part of the common property and therefore the responsibility of the owners corporation, but am not 100% sure. I would be grateful for advice on whether this is an owners corporation or lot owner responsibility to fix.
Answer: Definitely lot owners responsibility for the locks. And owners normally pay for any upgrades to windows.
Definitely lot owners responsibility for the locks. And owners normally pay for any upgrades to windows. It would also depend if other windows are in a similar state. The first step is to determine the boundary.
- If a window forms part of the common property (ie boundary of the unit) then replacing or repair and maintenance – 50/50 unit owner and owners corporation (unless owners corporation resolves otherwise)
- If window does not form boundary of unit then – unit owner
- If window treatments are inside the boundary of the unit – unit owner responsibility
- If window treatments on common property windows (ie entrance foyer, gym, library) – owners corporation
- All windows require replacement or double glazing – owners corporation responsibility or may resolve 50/50 unit owners/owners corporation (if boundary of unit)
- inside the unit boundary – unit owner
- external to the unit on common property wall/entrance foyer/garage/Communal laundry/cabana/gym/sauna/spa/poolroom – owners corporation
- Fly screens/security screens – unit owner responsible. (unless owners corporation resolves otherwise)
- Locks – unit owner (unless owners corporation resolves otherwise)
- Sash cord replacement – unit owner as it is inside the unit boundary and not located on common property
Have a question about who pays for replacing windows and locks or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
This post appears in Strata News #285.
- Multi-unit residential: Building maintenance guide
- ACT: Q&A Where do my Common Property Boundary Lines Lie?
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.