We have been asked ways to resolve an ongoing basement waterproofing problem with minimal support from the committee or strata manager. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following response.
Question: Water has been leaking from our front yard into the car park below for a few years without resolution. Must I use the strata’s expensive contractor for the basement waterproofing? How do I get the committee to act?
I live in a complex that contains 28 townhouses and I am a committee member myself. Our front yard is common property and directly under this common property is our car space in the garage.
This leaking problem has been existing for a few years. In fact, all 28 units have already paid a lot of special levies a few years ago to get this leakage problem fixed. The problem has been mostly fixed except ours and a couple of other spots because the previous contractor left without fully finishing the basement waterproofing. Our leak is causing water to directly running onto our car whereas the other spots are away from any other cars so it’s not affecting other owners as much.
The contractor came out and waterproofed part of our neighbour’s front yard instead of ours. Of course, this didn’t stop the leaking. This whole situation occurred because strata weren’t following up the matter. Also, the strata manager keeps changing as well, so we have failed to get any response from anyone.
With some difficulties, I finally managed to get our strata manager to organise someone to look at our basement waterproofing again. The contractor has come back with a quote that is ridiculously expensive for waterproofing a very small area. The new strata manager sent this ridiculously expensive quote to the committee which consists of myself and 3 other owners. None of the committee members have responded to the quote. The leaking has been getting worse because it has not been rectified for a few years and I am really concerned it may cause even more problems if we don’t fix it soon.
- Can I get another quote from another contractor or do I have to stick with the one that Strata sent through?
- Does Strata have the right to force us to use their delegated contractors? Would they argue that only their contractors can do the job?
- What can I do if none of the committee members responds?
- Does committee/strata have the obligation/responsibilities to repair common property ie waterproofing our front yard? What if one of the committee members object to this?
- What options do I have to get Strata/Committee to carry out the repairs?
Answer: You may get another quote from another contractor, however, make sure that the quote covers exactly the same scope of work so that any comparison in cost is viable.
Yes, you may get another quote from another basement waterproofing contractor, however, make sure that the quote covers exactly the same scope of work so that any comparison in cost is viable.
The strata committee should pass a resolution to obtain more competitive quotes.
Your Strata Manager’s track history of fixing the problem leaves a bit to be desired. With such a large and complex job, consider obtaining a consultant to determine the source of the water egress who can then prepare a scope of works to put out to tender. This will ensure that the job gets done and that any price comparisons are like for like.
If you can obtain some support, a committee meeting must be convened if at least one-third of the committee members so request. Alternatively, you may make a qualified request (with not less than ¼ of the unit entitlements) to convene a general meeting of the owners corporation.
The Owners Corporation has a strict duty to repair and maintain the common property. As for your waterproofing, it must be determined whether it is lot or common property. Generally, it will be common property but you will need to review the strata plan for any notations and see if any by-laws displace the general position.
If the failure to repair relates to common property, this is a breach of the Owners Corporation’s statutory duty. Remedies include seeking compulsory appointment of a managing agent to carry out such duties, however, you will need to ensure that the failure relates to common property. You may also seek to recover damages for breach of this statutory duty.
This post appears in Strata News #211.
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These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.