This question about time limits for reimbursements – in this case, external blinds has been answered by Tony Johnson, Horner Management.
Question: One lot owner had external blinds replaced around 10 years ago, and is now asking for a reimbursement. She has no receipts and she is the only owner left from 10 years ago. Where do we stand?
I’m in a block of 5 units and two of the units need external blinds replaced on their front windows. This, of course, would be covered by strata.
One of the other units had their external blinds replaced about 10 years ago and she claims she paid for it out of her own pocket. This lady is the only person left from all of the owners from 10 years ago. She had no receipt but is demanding strata repay her for the blinds.
Is she able to claim this money? I understand if it was only a few years ago with all the same owners paying into strata but I’m not sure if after 10 years she could still claim this money, especially since no one else living in these units was here? Where do we stand with this?
Answer: In a Strata Corporation generally speaking blinds and awnings are maintained and replaced by individual Lot Owners at their own cost rather than the group.
Thanks for your query. Although you state that the external blinds would be funded by Strata this is not always the case.
If the property is Community Titled, then the blinds would be the responsibility of the Unit Owner to maintain as in Community Titled properties, Owners own the outside walls and everything to do with their Lot and therefore maintenance of the same.
In a Strata Corporation, generally speaking, blinds and awnings are maintained and replaced by individual Lot Owners at their own cost rather than the group. This is because they are items attached to the main building for the exclusive use of one unit, and can wear at different rates depending on use by the individual. So whilst they are outside and the group will need to consent to any changes in style or colour, quite often the group will have these Owners maintain and replace them individually. This is likely what occurred with your Lot Owner who replaced many years ago. This would seem to also place a precedent.
I would suggest you check the group’s individual By-Laws to see if there is a reference previously made to the blinds, or previous minutes of meetings. If the group would like to make all external blinds the responsibility of the Corporation and this isn’t already documented, then they should set up a meeting and record an official policy for the blinds moving forward.
Specifically, in regards to a timeframe for seeking reimbursement, there is no timeframe in the Strata Act, though there may be something in other relevant legislation. The key here is to be fair and equitable, but without knowing the history this can be messy, so best to outline a policy moving forward and if Owners have historically maintained themselves (and the group has not funded any works), then it would be simplest to make this the groups By-law.
This post appears in Strata News #191.
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This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.