Some lot owners from NSW have questions about the cleaning and repair of windows. Are windows strata responsibility? Andrew Terrell, Bright & Duggan provides the following responses.
Question: One of the lot owners of our apartment complex raised the question of who should pay for the cleaning of the exterior glass panel windows?
One of the lot owners of our apartment complex raised the question of are windows strata responsibility and who should pay for the cleaning of the exterior glass panel windows?
Our apartment complex is registered with the Land Titles Office prior to 1 July 1974. Our Strata Manager is adamant that regardless when the Strata Plan is registered, the Owners Corporation are responsible for the costs of exterior window cleaning to all apartments.
Are windows strata responsibility? If not, what would be the best way to address this matter with all Lot Owners in our Strata Complex?
Answer: The owners corporation has an obligation to repair and maintain (clean) common property.
The owners corporation has an obligation to repair and maintain (clean) common property.
There’s nothing in the question which tells me the windows are not common property and as such, the owners corporation are obligated to clean the windows.
I further note that sometimes a by-law will be introduced at a scheme giving that owners / occupants are responsible for cleaning ‘accessible’ windows, which is a reasonable approach – i.e. those which can be easily reached from a balcony without any danger.
We would suggest that owners corporations have a regular regime of cleaning inaccessible windows, which might be annually or more routine if the building is coastal or on a major road.
As the scheme was registered prior to 1974, you may wish to read this article: NSW: Pre 1974 Schemes and the Centre Line Rule
This article doesn’t change my view on cleaning as inaccessible windows pre 1974 likely still remain common property.
The owners corporation should seek specific advice as if pre-1974 the plan will need to be reviewed.
Question: Is the body corporate responsible for replacing consumables such as rollers, flyscreens and window seals, as a result of age or does this cost usually fall on the owner?
Answer: If the fly screens are original, they will fall on the owners corporation to maintain.
The owners corporation is responsible for maintaining window consumable (rollers, sashes, etc) provided the windows do not fall under the remit of the relevant owner under an exclusive-use by-law (it’s pretty rare that they would but not out of the question).
If the fly screens are original, they will fall on the owners corporation to maintain.
This post appears in Strata News #204.
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This article is for reference purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the developments in the law and practice or to cover all aspect of the subject matter. It does not constitute legal or other advice and should not be relied upon this way. Readers should take legal or other advice before applying the information containing in this publication.
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