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: Can the Executive Committee pass a special resolution stating lot owners are responsible for the repairs and maintenance of their windows and doors?
Can the Executive Committee pass a special resolution stating all lot owners are responsible for the repairs and maintenance of their windows and doors, absolving them of the responsibility?
If this is legal and the special resolution is passed, do I have to comply even though I do not agree with the decision?
Answer: The Executive Committee doesn’t have the ability to make any type of resolution other than a majority resolution and doesn’t have any right to make changes to common property.
The Executive Committee doesn’t have the ability to make any type of resolution other than a majority resolution and doesn’t have any right to make changes to common property.
Assuming it’s the owners corporation at a general meeting wanting to make such a change, it’s my view that the owners corporation would have to:
- Pass a special resolution in accordance with S106(3) that it is inappropriate for the owners corporation to maintain and repair the windows and doors.
- Pass a by-law under S108 giving that the owners of lots must maintain the windows and doors of their lots. The by-law would need the consent of every lot owner burdened/benefitted by the by-law in accordance with S108(5).
There’s little reason I can think of where an owners corporation would look to do this (for any other reason than avoiding the cost of maintenance).
Given that windows and doors are part of the structure of the building and a large part of the appearance of the scheme I don’t believe S106(3) would be met –
(b) its decision will not affect the safety of any building, structure or common property in the strata scheme or detract from the appearance of any property in the strata scheme.
If the owners corporation pass motions per the above, I believe it would be easily challenged at the tribunal or the court system. It would not be well advised of them to do so and they should consult a solicitor.
This post appears in Strata News #254.
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 owners corporation 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.
Have a question the cleaning or repair of windows in apartments or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
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.
- NSW: Fair Trading Providing Incorrect Information About Window Safety Devices
- NSW: So What Happens if the Owners Corporation Does Not Fix the Building?
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.