Water damage and my strata

Water damage is a tricky issue as it can appear in areas of strata that are uncommon or difficult to access. Water travels in tight places and can flow far which makes the origin hard to pinpoint, leaving extensive damage.

In strata complexes, it can be even harder to determine the fault of the water damage and how to fix it. To help you out, let’s examine common water issues as well as how to resolve them.

Common issues

During heavy storms or bad weather, wind and rain can cause exterior damage to the building. This can lead to cracks or openings that allow water to seep into these areas and travel throughout the interior of the building. When this happens, it can cause concrete damage, wood rotting, paint bubbling or leaky roofs. Sometimes, residents may absently leave a window or door open during a storm, and that too can cause damage.

Whatever the damage may be, it is best to take photos and contact the building manager or strata manager immediately in order for them to perform the necessary actions to fixing it.

The slightest water problems can lead to mould or mildew build-up which can cause more dangerous health consequences if not dealt with.

Responsibility

A common question when issues arise is ‘who is responsible?’. This doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is at fault and an individual has to take the responsibility of dealing with the issue.

It may be damage to property that leads to water seeping through, or perhaps blocked drains overflowing. An issue such as water flowing from a balcony onto a property below can have devastating results if untreated. Either way, your strata manager will be able to help bottom out the problem.

Defining where water damage begins is often the hardest part, but whatever the issue is, it’s best to discuss it with your local strata manager. They can help you reduce your stress and deal with the problem with peace of mind.

According to the NSW Government Fair Trading website, the following issues are defined with who is responsible.

 

Strata Plumbing Issue Who is responsible?
Burst pipe in the bathroom The owners corporation is responsible for burst pipes in a boundary wall, while the owner takes responsibility for internal walls. If the pipe services multiple units, however, it will be an issue for the owners corporation.
Water from shower not draining Any plumbing sited beneath the floor is dealt with by the owners corporation.
The shower head or taps are faulty These are the responsibility of the individual lot owner.
Broken kitchen sink causing water damage Everything included in the airspace of a unit’s bathroom or kitchen – rather than beneath floors or behind walls – is the responsibility of the individual owner including baths, showers, toilets, sinks and dishwashers. Therefore, any damage caused by a leaky sink is the owner’s problem.

However, check with your owners corporation, as many have comprehensive insurance policies that cover damage to fixtures occurring within units.

A unit is damp and mouldy Mould and mildew on internal walls is the responsibility of the individual owner. Any damp caused by water seepage through the external walls or floor, however, should be taken care of by the body corporate.
Water spilling from balcony above While the body corporate is responsible for water running off common property, it can’t be held responsible for over-vigorous watering of plants on the balcony overhead. A quiet word with the offending neighbour might be all it takes to fix this.

 

Strata & Co. is your local strata management company that works with you in order to maintain and repair strata properties of all sizes and uses. We understand all the laws and regulations regarding damages, responsibility as well as the best practices in repair and maintenance.

With years of service under our belt, you can give our friendly staff a call at 1300 033 947 to see how we can give you the most inclusive strata management services you deserve.