This question about who is responsible to repair damage from water ingress has been answered by Stuart Mellington, Select OwnersCorp Management.
Question: For some time we have had water ingress through the walls and windows of our investment unit. The body corporate say it is my cost to repair. Is this correct?
I own an investment property in Melbourne. I have for some time been getting water into the unit through the walls at ground level from the rear courtyard and also through the windows. The Owners Corporation say the water ingress is my problem because it’s not common property.
Could this be true?
Answer: A difficult one without access to the plan of subdivision.
In response to the question, it is very difficult to give a definitive answer without reviewing the plan of subdivision.
However, in order to assist, I provide the following.
If the courtyard is a private courtyard incorporated in his title and the lower boundary is a specified depth below the ground surface which would indicate the foundations are included in his title as well, then it is likely that it is the owners problem. Particularly if the boundary is defined by the fence of the courtyard it follows the external wall may be incorporated in the title also. This is not always the case though and it depends on what is drawn on the plan.
In the event, there is one unit over another it is usually determined the upper level is a plan within the ceiling and the lower boundary is within the floor. This means the roof and the foundations are common. This is easily justified in that all units above the foundations benefit from the support of these the same as all units benefit from the protection the roof above provides.
External walls can be defined in many ways such as internal surface, median (middle of the thickness of the wall) or external surface. It is further complicated by whether the wall is a boundary or wholly contained within a lot. That is the boundary follows the fence of an adjoining courtyard and therefore the external wall is private. This can also vary in that the wall may be defined as common with the area inside the unit being private along with the area that forms the courtyard also being private but the structure of the wall being incorporated in the common property. This would be shown on the plan but may not be easily identified if you are not familiar with plans of subdivision.
It is also an issue if the water is originating from above and this is the common roof or another apartment when it would follow that the Owners Corporation needs to stop the water ingress in the case it is a common roof issue or the owner of the apartment above id there is a problem in their apartment such as a burst pipe in the wall or leaking shower recess or bath or even a washing machine leaking. There can be many causes.
I would suggest I have sufficiently complicated the situation but any good manager should be able to define the boundaries and put the owners mind at ease.
This post appears in Strata News #186.