Recently I had water seepage damage on my unit wall. The wallpaper is blistering and mold was growing under the wallpaper. Is the managing agent correct to say that it’s owner’s responsibility for the repair of the damaged wall in this instance? – Brian , NSW
Q: Recently I had water seepage damage on my unit wall. The wallpaper is blistering and mold was growing under the wallpaper.
The water seepage was traced to leaky showers in adjacent unit. I was told by a building managing agent that it is the owner’s responsibility to pay for the repair of the wall (which includes stripping of wallpaper and repainting) even though the damage was caused by water leaking from the showers of the adjacent unit and the wall is common to both units.
I also asked if the cost of repair can be covered by strata insurance and was told to claim from my own insurance instead.
Is the managing agent correct to say that it’s owner’s responsibility for the repair of the damaged wall in this instance ? Thank you.
A: This matter can be quite complicated, and the party responsible for payment will depend on where exactly the leak in the showers occurred, and how proactive the unit owner was in addressing the leak.
If the owner of the unit adjacent to yours has a leaky shower as a result of their own failure to maintain their unit, it will be their responsibility to cover the costs to repair the damage done to your wall. The payment may come from their contents insurance, or their own pocket.
It’s worth nothing note that if the owner was aware of the leak and had done everything in their power to stop or reduce the leakage, they may be not be held liable for damages.
If the leakage in their shower was a result of pipes or fixtures within the wall and are considered a part of common property, it may be the owners corporation that would pay for the repairs. The payments in this scenario may come from your common property insurance.
If you haven’t already, it may be worth communicating with the owner of the unit with the leak, and letting your strata manager know of the situation. You should also contact your insurance company and provide them with the details of the owners corporation’s insurer.
If you are having issues with mould, see our article with nine tips on how to reduce mould in your apartment: https://picagroup.com.au/tips-reduce-mould-growth/