Slow body corporate owners paying the price

Slow body corporate owners paying the price

Posted on Monday, April 16 2012 at 3:49 PM

Body corporate owners who take too long to repair common property or respond to requests could be left to pay expensive bills and legal fees, according to legal firm Kemp Strang.

Partner Roger
Mattar says the “absolute duty” of a body (or owners) corporation to promptly
maintain common property was recently highlighted in the New South Wales
Supreme Court.

“In this case, Mabel Dorothea Fligg
versus The Owners Strata Plan 53457
the owner had encountered water penetration ever since she purchased the
apartment in 2008,” he says.

“She made several
complaints about the problem but the owners corporation was slow to recognise
her water penetration issue and slow to properly address it.”

By the time the
owners corporation investigated, obtained a specialist report and finally
engaged the tradesperson to attempt to rectify the water penetration problem,
it had caused serious damage to the apartment and loss of amenity to the owner.

In the meantime,
the owner incurred out of pocket expenses for a specialist to produce a report
on the problem, a solicitor to advise on her rights and for costs associated
with commencing proceedings in the tribunal while waiting for the owners
corporation to act.

“Despite the fact
that an agreement had been reached between the owners corporation and Mrs Fligg
in relation to the rectification of the water penetration issue, the Supreme
Court found that Mrs Fligg was entitled to recover most of her out of pocket
expenses,” Roger says.

Roger adds owners
corporations can minimise the likelihood of this sort of situation by;

the management committee meets regularly, keeps minutes including any agreed
action items and has a mechanism in place for communications between meetings

benchmarks around promptness of responses to queries

to timelines for the strata manager to make recommendations about any issues

deadlines for the strata manager.

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