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Is waterproofing covered by strata?

If you own a house in a strata scheme, you’ve got a series of responsibilities regarding common property. Sometimes, accidents may happen and water leaks may affect you or your neighbors.

To solve the problem, the source of the leak must the identified and repaired. But who is responsible for doing the waterproofing work and covering the expenses?

In this post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about your waterproofing duties and responsibilities if you live in a strata scheme.

What is a strata scheme building?

But first things first, we need to see what exactly a strata scheme is. I’ll define the term below.

A strata scheme building is a real estate term that describes a building or group of buildings where owners have full ownership over individual units and shared ownership over common spaces and property.

For example, an apartment building is divided into apartments. Apartment owners have full ownership over their property. They can dispose of their apartments as they like. Elements such as the external walls of the building, the roof, the elevator, the stairwells and so on are shared property.

As an apartment owner, you have a series of responsibilities and duties for common property. For example, you pay a monthly or quarterly levy to cover the costs for running the building. You may also contribute money to a capital works fund for repairing the building when needed.

Living in a strata scheme may bring more restrictions compared to living in a freestanding house. You can’t park your car where you want and you need to respect the approved quiet hours scheme among other things.

Who pays for the waterproofing repairs in a strata?

In a strata scheme, waterproofing repairs carried out in individual apartments or houses are to be paid for by the owner of the respective apartment or house. So, the owner of that property should pay for any necessary waterproofing repair works. There are also some exceptions to this rule. It all depends on where the repair work needs to be done (individual or shared property).

I decided to write this post after I found myself in a similar situation. My neighbors from the apartment below complained about water leaking. The plumber found that the source of water leaking was actually my shower.

More specifically, the shower tiles had some minor cracks but that was enough for water to leak through the floor. I had to re-waterproof my shower but I wasn’t quite sure who should pay the bill.

⇒ Learn more: How much does waterproofing a crawl space cost?

Strata scheme laws

For more information, I’ve selected some relevant excerpts from the NSW Strata Scheme Law and I’ll list them below. Please check the Strata Scheme Laws available in your country for specific details.

Repair Who is responsible?
Burst pipe in the bathroom If it is in a boundary wall, the owners corporation is responsible. If it is in an internal wall it is the lot owner’s, unless the pipe services more than your lot, in which case it is owners corporation responsibility.
The kitchen sink was broken and has caused water damage in both my unit and my neighbour’s unit Problems with everything in the airspace of a bathroom or kitchen including baths, toilets, sinks and dishwashers are the owner’s responsibility. However the owners corporation’s building insurance may cover some of these fixtures for damage.
There is damp and mould in my unit The owners corporation is responsible for water penetration problems coming in through external walls or the floor. The owner is responsible for the mould on their walls.
Water leaks onto my balcony from the unit above every time they water their plants If the water is running off common property, the owners corporation is responsible. If it is caused by over watering by another owner or resident, that person is responsible.

Have you ever found yourself in a complicated strata waterproofing situation? Tell us more about your experience in the comments below.

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Last updated in October 2021 to add additional information.

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