These questions about strata maintenance in Adelaide, SA have been answered by Tyson D’Sylva and Flavia Ger from Ace Body Corporate Management and Tony Johnson of Stratarama.
Question: Our strata manager wanted immediate access to units to check on strata maintenance needs. Are they required to provide a reasonable amount of notice to gain access?
I live in an apartment block of 42 units in Adelaide. The strata manager has gone around units asking for access to check on smoke alarms, ceiling insulation and other items. If the lot owner was not home, he contacted them and asked for the doors to be left unlocked or a key left so he can access the unit while no one was there.
This sounds very unprofessional, bordering on criminal. What right of access to an apartment does a strata manager have? Are they required to provide notice to lot owners if they are looking to gain access to check on strata maintenance needs?
Answer: For internal inspections/ repairs, the body corporate must give written notice to the owner occupier or tenant.
A Body corporate manager’s role is to assist in running the business affairs of the corporation. Their proficiency is in a solid grounding of the Strata/ Community Titles legislation and implementation of the Act to ensure that the corporation is compliant with the relevant legislation.
A manager’s expertise is in ‘managing’ the legal and administrative duties/ compliance for the corporation. A Body Corporate Manager may obtain quotes from contractors such as builders, skilled professionals in relation to the common property’s upkeep; however, in many cases are not qualified experts to undertake or ‘inspect’ works themselves.
Even if a manager has an understanding of common property maintenance, he/ she inspecting units for repairs/ compliance is not a normal practice and not recommended. The manager can provide general recommendations and speak to the corporation’s management committee to arrange a suitably qualified professional to undertake repairs or recommend maintenance and should avoid becoming the corporation’s handyman.
This scenario is unacceptable. As per the Strata Titles Act 1988 and Community Titles Act 1996, for internal inspections/ repairs, the body corporate must give written notice to the owner occupier or tenant. The legislation does not specify what a reasonable time would be for inspection, only that it must be reasonable. It is considered good practice to normally give an owner occupant at least 7 days’ notice before entry, (depending on the circumstances of each situation).
Please refer to the Strata Titles Act 1988 (STA) on authorising entry to the premises under Section 42 — Unit holder’s power of entry. Please refer to the Community Titles Act 1996 (CTA) on authorising entry to the premises under Section 146 — Entry onto lot or common property.
There are other sections in the Act referring to the unit owner’s responsibility to maintain and repair their unit or the corporation can authorise entry to organise the works. These will be covered in STA under Section 28 — Power to enforce duties of maintenance and repair and CT under Section 101 — Power to enforce duties of maintenance and repair.
This post appears in Strata News #264.
Question: How much notice should my strata corporation give for a roof inspection? The presiding officer said she had no need to inform me. Is this true? I would have thought at least 48hrs notice was necessary.
I have a question regarding how much notice should my strata corporation give for a roof inspection.
In the AGM earlier this year, I brought up that, as part of our strata maintenance requirements, I believe all the roofs should have an inspection as they are old and deteriorating. It was all agreed that the presiding officer would organise a roof inspection.
A few weeks later I was woken up early to what sounded like someone breaking into my roof. I headed outside to find a stranger crouched down on my roof. I questioned what the man was doing & then was informed he was carrying out the roof inspection.
I’m sure anyone would find this an intrusive and terrifying way to discover that a roof inspection was being carried out. I am well aware that the roof is common property.
The inspection was on the exterior, however, I believe it’s only common decency to have been informed by strata that the roof inspection was to be carried out that day. When I emailed my strata manager and presiding officer, the presiding officer said she had no need to inform me. Is this true? I would have thought at least 48hrs notice was necessary.
There is an ongoing issue with our presiding officer informing strata and issuing notices regarding petty things and yet, doesn’t inform anyone when there is a roof inspection being carried out. I think this is just very poor management!
Answer: There is no legislative requirement in the Strata Titles Act, 1988 to provide a notice of inspection for external areas.
The Strata Corporation is responsible for repairing and maintaining the common property and quotes need to be organised to inspect and provide recommendations for repairs.
There is no legislative requirement in the Strata Titles Act, 1988 to provide notice of inspection for external areas.
However, providing notice is considered good practice so occupants are made aware of the inspection and do not experience any inconvenience.
It is always worth speaking with the manager so you can explain your concerns. You can request them to provide notice for any future inspections on the common areas. This matter can also be addressed at the next Annual General Meeting where a request is made to all lot owners to ensure their chosen tradesperson does not cause any disturbance/ inconvenience as everyone lives in close proximity and tolerance and consideration are important for good community living.
If you are unhappy with the current presiding officer’s / managers communication methods, you can bring this matter up with the other management committee members as they may have some additional information that will help in this area or resolve your concerns.
Speaking to your Strata manager may also assist in answering your queries.
This post appears in Strata News #209.
Question: Our roof is in need of replacement. I’ve been talking to other owners, gathering quotes and looking at our sinking fund contributions. Do I have to wait until the next AGM to raise this?
My unit complex is in need of a new roof. There are no current leakage issues but given that the roof is sagging heavily in many places, it has insufficient support for the cement tiled sections and asbestos tiles on other sections, I would like to see a new roof installed within 5 years.
I know at least one other owner occupier feels the same way. I do not know how the other property owners feel as 3 out of the 6 units are rented and one is currently changing ownership.
I have begun preparing a proposal for the work to be done. I am collecting quotes from roofing companies and seeking a real estate agent’s opinion / statement regarding the value added by re-roofing.
I have been told by reroofing companies that getting the roof installed now with a payment plan would add 10 – 15% to the total cost. We currently input a small amount of money into a sinking fund on a quarterly basis.
I am hoping to increase the sinking fund allocation to allow the re-roofing to be carried out within the next 3 to 5 years. Am I going about this the right way? Can you give me any information regarding the best way to present this proposal for strata maintenance Adelaide so that I have the maximum chance of success?
Do I have to wait until the next AGM to raise the topic?
Answer: You look to be taking the due process and obtaining as much information as you can before submitting a detailed proposal to the group.
From what you have outlined, you are taking the due process and obtaining as much information as you can on the matter before submitting a detailed proposal to the group. This would be best placed on the Agenda for the next AGM, or if this is too far away the group could call an EGM (there are processes to do this also as noted in the Strata title Act 1988).
Below is a breakdown of the methods for calling a General meeting, which you may find helpful. This information has been taken from the Strata Title Legal Guide for SA.
A general meeting can be called by the secretary, or any two members of the management committee, or one-fifth of the unit owners, or by order of the Magistrates Court [s 33(2)]. An application to the Magistrates Court (minor civil action jurisdiction) to call a general meeting can be made by the owner or occupier of a unit, a person who has contracted to purchase a unit, or any other person bound by the articles of the strata corporation (except for persons invited to or visiting the site) [s 41AA].
This post appears in Strata News #204.
Question: We have a few bent roof panels. Are we responsible for the repair of the roof or is this something our strata should be paying for?
Our strata building has six suites and we own and occupy two of them.
We’ve been told there are some slightly bend roofing panels above one of our suites. We are unsure about how to proceed. Who is responsible for the upkeep of the building? Who should pay for the repair of the roof?
Answer: Strata legislation states that the corporation must maintain the integrity of the buildings / strata scheme, meaning that in most cases the externals of the building is the corporation’s responsibility.
Maintenance in a strata corporation is always a point of discussion as owners ask the question “why should I have to pay for another person’s repairs?”.
The strata legislation states that the corporation must maintain the integrity of the buildings / strata scheme, meaning that in most cases the externals of the building is the corporation’s responsibility.
Some strata corporations have made their own resolutions that deem owners to pay for certain sections based on reasons that have been approved at an AGM of the corporation.
You will need to check what has been agreed by your corporation by checking the minutes or talking to your strata manager.
Otherwise, check what has been the case with other unit repairs. If they have paid their own, then most likely you will have to pay the cost to repair your roof.
Please note, if you have added anything to the structure this would be solely your expense to repair.
If the answer / the way to proceed is still not clear for you, then the best thing to do is have the repairs fixed and raise this matter at the next AGM. This process will give you a clear way on how to proceed.
This post appears in Strata News #155.
These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
- SA: Q&A Who is responsible for strata repairs?
- SA: Q&A Who is Responsible for Repair and Maintenance of Windows
- Fixing a Leaking Roof
Looking for strata law specialists? Search within our Strata Services Directory in the category Building Repairs & Maintenance SA for the best list of contacts available.
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