An issue which causes a lot of confusion for owners of property under a Strata Scheme is understanding who is responsible for the maintenance of particular components within the lot. Is the individual owner of the lot or the Owners Corporation responsible? Generally, this is dependent on whether the component is part of the common property or the lot.

Who is Responsible for What?

Normally each owner is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of all the components of the building which is enclosed by the external walls of their unit, villa or townhouse. This would include such things as internal walls within the lot, floor coverings and benchtops.

The lot owner also effectively owns the airspace (including anything within it) inside the boundary walls, floors and ceilings of the lot. This may include balconies and courtyards.

According to section 62 of the Strata Schemes Management Act the Owners Corporation has a mandatory duty to repair and maintain all elements of common property. Elements of common property include:

Floors (this includes ramps and stairways)
Boundary walls (including any doors or windows or other structures within the wall)
Pipes and electrical wiring within the common property or servicing more than one lot
Balcony doors are usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974
The slab dividing two storeys of the same lot
However, there is a lot of confusion as to who is responsible because not every strata plan is identical and certain Owners Corporations pass specific resolutions or change By-Laws or absolve the Owners Corporations of maintenance responsibilities. Therefore, it is important that you understand your strata plan and by-laws in order to determine the specific responsibilities associated with your property.

If you need any help understanding your strata plan, please do not hesitate to contact the team of lawyers at The Quinn Group on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry.

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