Being part of a strata scheme usually means that most problems are solved by a strata management team. These organisations are designed to manage anything that occurs within a building or group of buildings. Although it sounds simple enough, when major issues with plumbing occur, things can get a little tricky.
The reason this has the potential to get tricky is that it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s part of the individual lot and what is common property and shared by everyone in the scheme. Plumbing is certainly a grey area, but according to the NSW Government Fair Trading division, there’s an easier way to tell.
Anything that’s found outside of the airspace of the unit, including boundary walls and windows, is the responsibility of the owner’s corporation as it’s common property. Everything inside the unit including fixtures and carpet is the individual’s property and therefore your responsibility.
How does this affect plumbing issues?
Because plumbing involves a lot of hidden parts and pieces that can’t always be seen on the surface, it can be hard to know exactly who is responsible. For a lot owner, the best thing to do is advise the strata board or secretary immediately when you see water or potential damage due to plumbing. This can be either inside the apartment or on the common property.
From here, it’s their responsibility to call in for professional help, and this is usually done without the need for a meeting if it’s a minor repair. Larger repairs may require a meeting with other lot owners to discuss potential costs and causes of action.
A strata scheme will usually have a capital works fund, and sometimes repairs and maintenance for plumbing can be included in the 10-year plan. For emergency issues, though, it’s best to act quickly and follow the required steps for reporting the problem correctly.
Who is responsible for these common plumbing issues?
When you own a unit or apartment and are part of a strata scheme, it can be hard to know exactly what is your responsibility and what isn’t. Here are a few instances of plumbing issues and who is likely to be responsible for the costs.
- Water not draining away in the shower
If the plumbing issue is coming from under the floor, it will be the responsibility of the owner’s corporation, even though it is just your shower affected.
- Burst pipe in the bathroom
If the pipe has burst in an internal wall, then it will be the owner’s responsibility, unless of course, it runs to more than just your unit. A burst pipe in a boundary wall will be up to the owner’s corporation to fix.
- Damp and mouldy spots in unit
If there is mould on your walls, then you will be responsible for this. However, damp spots resulting from leaks or other external damage in the boundary walls will be the responsibility of the owner’s corporation.
- Broken kitchen sink causing damage to neighbour’s unit
Items within your airspace including dishwashers, sinks, and toilets are all the lot owner’s responsibility. However, there may be insurance coverage possible for this type of damage.
- Water coming from balcony above
If you’re noticing water coming from a space above you, possibly due to someone watering their plants, it is the owner’s responsibility to take action. If it’s due to problems with the balcony, this is for the owner’s corporation to handle.
If you need expert advice on plumbing for your unit, house or strata group, the team at JEDI Plumbing are the people to call. We have years of experience handling tricky situations and know all there is to know about plumbing laws and regulations. Call us today on 0411 774 381 to see how we can help.