A lot owner from NSW is wondering who is responsible to replace the screen door in their old unit block. Rod Smith, The Strata Collective provides the following response.
Question: The fly screen to my balcony is very old. Who should be paying to replace the screen door? Is it my cost or should the owners corporation carry out this repair?
I have lived in a strata unit for 10 years and the building was built about 40 years ago. My fly screen door to my balcony has a gap of 15mm and it is very old. I have requested a new one.
I have asked my strata manager who should be paying to replace the screen door. The Strata Manager has referred me to the Executive Committee. There is only 2 of us on the Executive Committee. I have been advised the door can only be replaced by the strata if it is broken and it is still the original one!
I have asked for a copy of the bylaws with no result. All other 7 units have the same screen doors except mine. The screen door has been inspected by different tradesmen who all said that the door is so old a new one will not fit on tracks. How do I find out if this is the original one, please?
Who should be paying to replace the screen door?
Answer: In most cases, fly screens and screen doors on apartments are lot owner property and not common property.
Thanks for the question. I think that the answer you have received from the strata manager is most likely the correct one. In almost all cases, fly screens and screen doors on apartments are lot owner property and not common property as the screens didn’t form part of the common property at the time of the strata scheme being registered.
Repairs to older strata schemes
There is also an added level of complexity with this situation in that the parts of building classified as lot property or common property are different for older strata schemes.
For strata schemes are pre-1 July 1974, (normally with a strata plan number before 7500-8000), the section of wall and balcony door between the balcony and apartment is classified as lot property and not common property. Bannermans Lawyers have prepared a good article on this very topic NSW: Pre 1974 Schemes and the Centre Line Rule.
So my suggestion, get the screen door fixed within keeping of the complex at the owners cost.
This post appears in Strata News #182.
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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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