Water Leak Responsibility

In periods of heavy rain (which we often experience in Queensland!), water often finds a way to cause a nuisance inside as well as out.

For owners, committees, building managers and body corporate managers this creates the need for some thorough investigation and a hard look at the Queensland Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.

In basic terms, the body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of common property and each owner is responsible for the interior of their lot. Where the building is concerned, the developer/builder has an ongoing responsibility to repair any structural faults within six and a quarter years of the date of practical completion. For owners in a body corporate where there is a building manager, he or she should be the first notified of the leak. If your building manager is uncertain on what to do next then your body corporate manager needs to be notified.   

The responsibility for the necessary repairs will need to be clearly determined as well as the date of practical completion identified. If body corporate expenditure is being used, the committee will need to be involved. This will also mean some delay because alternate quotes may be required and, perhaps, that magic word ‘insurance’.

Determining who has responsibility for water leaks can be a very difficult task! Below are some frequently asked questions and answers in regards to water leak responsibility:

Q. The water comes through the ceiling of a high-rise unit from an over-flowed bath above?
A. There is (between the floor of the unit above and your ceiling) either a microscopic space or a membrane that is owned by the body corporate which gives the responsibility to the body corporate.

Q. There is a hole in the pipe providing water to your unit?
A. If the pipe services only your unit, the responsibility is yours.

Q. You are an owner-investor whose tenant has left the bedroom window open during heavy rain?
A. Your tenant, your responsibility – though you would have a good case to make it the tenant’s.

Q. Water enters through the grouting in your balcony and ruins your tiles and flooring timber and the ceiling of your neighbour’s unit below?
A. This is a complex situation and the answer is ‘it depends’. However, if the balcony is on title, there is a good chance that the responsibility is yours.

Q. The drainage on the balcony of the unit above you blocks and water overflows and causes damage to your balcony?
A. Each owner has a responsibility to maintain his or her own lot and if failure to comply results in costs to another owner then the first owner may well be expected to make good the damage caused to the property of the second owner.

Situations surrounding water leakage and responsibility can be complex and may vary and it is important to remember that water can often travel a long way from where it starts!

Hopefully, though, the above information may help if water problems come your way.

Tim Sheehan

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x