Rectifying Building Defects

Many people think that everything that goes wrong with a strata building is the responsibility of the Owners Corporation. This is not always true.

If a strata title building has a defect, such as cracking, water leaks or breakdown of equipment such as air-conditioning, the first question is to determine the location of the defect (see what is included in a strata lot).

If it is in an individual owner's lot, then it is that owner's responsibility, not the Owners Corporation's. 

Even if the defect is in the common property, it will still not be the Owners Corporation's problem, if it is in common property over which there is an exclusive use by-law.

We had a client who owned a unit, above which was a concrete roof. The Owners Corporation granted exclusive use of the roof to the penthouse owner, to use it as a garden. He then put down a waterproof membrane and laid a garden on top. When water started to penetrate our client's unit, we had to get expert advice, which showed that the failure was in the membrane. This was located in common property. However, it was the penthouse owner, not the Owners Corporation who had to fix the problem, because of the by-law which gave exclusive use over that area to the penthouse owner.

For enquiries, contact Tim Somerville.

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