This question about common property damage has been answered by Mikayla Mason, Mark Hay Realty Group.
Question: If a lot owner installs a skylight which later leaks, who repairs the common property damage?
If a lot owner, either current or previous, has installed a skylight or solar panel on the roof of a strata building (common property) and at some later point damage is caused (ie water seeping in) at the skylight or solar panel, is the Body Corporate liable to pay for repairs to the common property damage?
Answer: If the common property has been altered, with or without approval, this does not negate the Strata Company’s responsibility to control and manage, maintain and keep in good service and repair.
The first thing to determine is if the roof is common or forms part of the lot. This can be determined from the Strata Plan. If the boundaries of the lot are external to the building, then the roof is part of the lot and the lot owner has a responsibility to maintain it in accordance with Schedule 1 By-Law 1(b) unless amended. This does not negate the necessity of the lot owner seeking approval to carry out the alternation to begin with.
Under the standard Schedule 2 By-law 13, a proprietor cannot alter the structure of the lot except as permitted to do so under the Strata Titles Act 1985 (section 7) and the By-laws of the Strata Company. The proprietor must also give notice to the Strata Company of the alteration no less than 14 days prior to the alteration being carried out (section 7B).
If the roof is common then the Strata Company is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of it. If the common property has been altered, with or without approval, this does not negate the Strata Company’s responsibility to control and manage, maintain and keep in good service and repair. The Strata Company retains all responsibility pertaining to common property except where a By-Law of the Strata Company states otherwise, which is often the case in exclusive use.
If an alteration occurs without approval from the Strata Company, the lot proprietor can be instructed to reinstate the common property to its original condition. Should the lot proprietor fail to do so then the Strata Company can make an application to the State Administrative Tribunal under section 103G of the Strata Titles Act WA 1985 seeking relief for a breach of section 7(2).
This post appears in Strata News #173.