A Lot Owner from QLD is concerned about water damage caused by the run off from their exclusive use outdoor area. Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal provides the following response.
Question: Water runoff from my exclusive use outdoor area has caused water damage inside my unit and also drips through to the basement car park. How do I get the body corporate to act?
I live in Queensland in a 3 story walk-up strata building with 9 units.
I have a ground floor unit I have owned for 30 yrs. I have a huge patio area, a concrete podium of 45 sq metres which is Common Property but I have ‘exclusive use’ of the area.
The fall of this podium area is toward my two back sliding doors.
When it rains or when I hose, the water falls toward and pools at my backdoors and must be swept away back uphill.
I have had to pull up my rotted carpet and tile my floors at my expense to combat the water damage.
The Body Corporate repaired my water damage in the side wall. We have had 2 drains drilled in the lowest spots to drain away the water but it lies in puddles in various areas.
One drain hole had not been sealed properly and the Committee refuse to send a plumber out to seal it. It leaks into the basement car park.
It is my car park that it fills with a 3 to 4 cm deep puddle. The water drops onto my car then onto the floor. It’s dangerous and slippery. The Committee will not act to get it repaired.
I have had to tie a bucket from the ceiling of my garage around a 4″PVC pipe to try and catch the water but it just hits the handle and splashes onto the floor.
I want the exclusive use area to be resurfaced so water runs toward a drain or one of the other drains on the podium. Have can I get them to act?
Answer: Whether the Body Corporate can be required to fix the issues will come down to what the exclusive use by-law says and the exact causes of the water ingress.
Whether the Body Corporate can be required to fix the issues will come down to what the exclusive use by-law says and the exact causes of the water ingress.
While a Body Corporate is generally responsible for maintaining common property in good and structurally sound condition, under an exclusive use by-law, a Body Corporate’s responsibility to maintain the area of common property covered by the by-law will largely transfer to the owner who benefits from the by-law, unless the by-law specifies otherwise.
The first step will be to obtain an engineer or builders report identifying the exact causes any water ingress. Once there is evidence of the cause, the second step is to identify who is responsible for that component. That will be determined with reference to the exclusive use by-law and whether the building is subdivided under a building format plan or standard format plan. That is shown on the survey plans for the scheme and can affect the maintenance obligations of the Body Corporate. More of that can be read about here: Maintenance responsibilities by format plan.
If the Body Corporate is responsible and it continues to do nothing, it might be time to get some legal advice to confirm where you stand. Otherwise, you can make an application to the Commissioner’s Office for conciliation here: Conciliation for body corporate disputes. That involves someone assisting you and the Body Corporate come to a resolution. If that does not work the next step is adjudication where a third party will make an order about the issue.
- QLD: Q&A A Show Cause Notice and Recovering Monies from Developer
- QLD: Top tips for Bodies Corporate dealing with Storm Damage
This post appears in Strata News #207.
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