A Qld lot owner would like to know who pays for accommodation when vacant possession is required for repairs to common property. Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal provides the following response.
Question: Can our Body Corporate demand Vacant Possession to undertake waterproofing repairs to common property? With no choice to stay in the unit, shouldn’t alternative accommodation be supplied at their cost?
Our complex is located in Queensland. Water penetration remediation works have been approved by the Body Corporate through an AGM motion. The complex has a Building Format Plan and is under the BCCM Act & Accommodation Module Regulations.
The Superintendent of the remedial works has requested, through the Body Corporate and the Body Corporate Manager, Vacant Possession of the unit whilst the works are being undertaken. This could take up to 21 days to complete.
There has not been any offer or consideration of alternate accommodation during that vacant possession period. As well as the cost of securing alternate accommodation for the period of time, I also have concerns about the security of the unit and any damage to furnishings and fixtures whilst the contractors are on site.
As our bedrooms and bathroom areas are located at the opposite end of the unit and would not impact on the contractors performing their work on the terrace, I wonder why Vacant Possession has been requested. Can the Body Corporate demand Vacant Possession without alternatives being offered to undertake the waterproofing works to the terrace?
Answer: If vacant possession is needed to carry out the works, cost should be borne by the body corporate.
It is hard to challenge the basis of what works are required without a competing builder’s report.
If vacant possession is needed to carry out the works (which would seem odd if the works are limited to the balcony only) there is an argument that these costs are consequential to the works the body corporate is responsible for, and should be borne by the body corporate.
This post appears in Strata News #261.
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