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Brisbane-Lawyer
Brisbane-Lawyer, Solicitor - Admitted 2005
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 14097
Experience:  I did my law degree at the University of Queensland
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I live in a unit under strata in NSW and I flagged an issue

Customer Question

I live in a unit under strata in NSW and I flagged an issue with damp and water ingress in my storeroom to the building manager June 2012.

At this time I provided her the only key to the storeroom so that inspections could take place to resolve the issue.

The cause of the problem was determined to be a failed water membrane in the outside stairs above allowing water to come through the ceiling of the storeroom. Guttering was put in in February 2013.

The keys to the storeroom were returned at the end of February 2013 (> 6 months later) and when i went into the storeroom it was flooded with water inches deep, destroying much of the contents.

Subsequently, a secondary cause of water ingress was found in a blocked storm water down pipe that entered the storeroom from the ceiling and went out through the floor, but with an opening that meant that backflow from the blocked drain came out into the storeroom.

The building management then installed a valve to stop the storm water drain from emptying into the store room. That took them less than a month and work was completed in March 2013.

I put in a claim for damages to the contents of the storeroom against the owners corp since they had possession of the only key. They're refusing to compensate and have chosen to communicate with me through their insurers. Their insurers say that they are not liable.

From my own reading I saw that STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 1996 - SECT 62 indicates that building management has to be proactive in maintaining common property and it looks like both the storm water drain pipe and the waterproof membrane in the ceiling are common property.

Corresponding with their insurance company has been a dead end. What should i do now?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Brisbane-Lawyer replied 10 months ago.
What should i do now?this

You will need to contact the NSW Office of Fair Trading and have them arrange a mediation between you and the strata committee. The mediation is confidential and the mediator is impartial.

Under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996, mediation must be attempted to resolve the strata dispute. You can bring a support person or solicitor with you to the mediation, and the fee for mediation services provided by NSW Fair Trading are on a per cost basis, so each party bears their own cost and half of the mediator's fee. Sometimes Fair Trading pick up the cost of the mediator but this isn't very common.

Now if the mediation is unsuccessful, then an Application can be made to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) by calling them on 1300 135 399. The matter would then be heard and decided on by a Tribunal Member, and CTTT decisions are enforceable through the Magistrates Court so once the CTTT rules on the matter, that's the end of the process.

Should you have any other questions, please let me know.

If you're satisfied with the results of your question, then I'll ask you to please provide positive feedback so that I will get credit for the time spent on your question. Your question can continue even after you leave positive feedback, so if you have any follow up questions please don't be afraid to ask.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Based purely on the information I've provided, how do you evaluate the strength of the case against the owners corporation?


 


Can you provide an opinion on how you feel this will pan out if/when i pursue it?


 


 

Expert:  Brisbane-Lawyer replied 10 months ago.
Based on the information you provided, I think there is a better than 50/50 chance the CTTT would make an order requiring them to compensate you for the damage you sustained.

Please don't forget to leave positive feedback so that I will get credit for the time spent on your question.

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