These are questions about strata maintenance responsibilities. Who maintains individual air conditioning units in strata? We’ve received the following questions from NSW Lot Owners. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following responses.
Question: Our air conditioner was installed incorrectly by the builder 5 years ago. Is the repair of the resulting leak part of the strata maintenance responsibilities?
Who pays for repair bills on my air conditioner? Is it me or the strata?
I bought my townhouse in 2014 and have recently discovered that my air conditioner unit, installed by the builders, has been leaking water into the property. Luckily there is no damage.
We have had a repairman out to fix the problem and he discovered the cause of the leak. The installers neglected to seal the pipes together adequately with glue and tape.
As the error was due to the actions of the original builder not correctly doing their job, does the repair of the air conditioner fall under strata maintenance responsibilities?
Answer: As it is likely not common property, you would need to repair it.
Generally speaking and without knowing where the external unit is located, an air-conditioning unit which services only one lot is that lot’s responsibility.
As for the defect in its original installation, as it is likely not common property, you would need to repair it.
This post appears in Strata News #282.
Question: What are the Strata maintenance responsibilities for the repairs of air conditioners when each unit has an outdoor air conditioning unit within the lot boundaries of each residence and not on common property?
Our strata scheme in NSW self-manages the residents 6 properties.
One of our residents has asked for work to be done on the external air conditioning unit that services his townhouse. Each unit has an outdoor air conditioning unit within the lot boundaries of each residence and not on common property. The ducting and electricals are located within the ceiling space of each individual townhouse or single story unit.
What are the Strata maintenance responsibilities for the repairs of the air conditioners? Or are residents responsible for the repair/maintenance and replacement of their air conditioning units that are not on common property and are for the exclusive use of the resident?
Answer: The structure of the A/C unit sits within the cubic air-space of the lot and is, therefore, the responsibility of the individual lot owner.
Based on the information provided below, while the external units are technically attached to common property (because presumably the unit is installed on the external pavers/flooring which are usually common property), the fact is that the structure of the unit sits within the cubic air-space of the lot and is, therefore, the responsibility of the individual lot owner.
Also, as it appears that the wiring exclusively services each particular lot, then such wiring/ducting would also be the responsibility of the individual lot owner.
This post appears in Strata News #195.
Question: When it comes to strata maintenance responsibilities, who is responsible for maintaining an individual unit’s ducted air conditioning systems when their main components are located outside the Lot’s boundaries?
Who is responsible for maintaining an individual unit’s ducted air conditioning systems when their main components are located outside the Lot’s boundaries? Particularly when the external condenser unit and all Freon conduits are located within common property and the evaporation blower and ducting are wholly within the roof cavity (above the ceiling)?
Under what circumstances if any would a Strata make an application to replace or repair faulty or failing Air Conditioning hardware?
Answer: The test for determining whose responsibility repair & maintenance befalls is whether or not there is an exclusive use by-law registered.
The test for determining whose responsibility repair & maintenance befalls is whether or not there is an exclusive use by-law registered. That will in all likelihood stipulate that repairs & maintenance is the responsibility of the lot owner benefitted by the installation.
In the absence of such a by-law, the responsibility would lie with the Owners Corporation and the Air Conditioning lot owner could compel the Owners Corporation to replace or repair the failing Air Conditioning hardware (rather than vice versa as you suggest). The Owners Corporation is liable to repair everything on the common property unless an individual lot owner has consented to repair responsibilities via a by-law.
This post appears in Strata News #133.
These articles is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
After a free PDF of this article as a strata maintenance responsibilities resource? Log into your existing LookUpStrata Account to download the printable file. Not a member? Simple – join for free on our Registration page.
Have concerns about the maintenance of air conditioners in your building or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.