Who is responsible for repairing the exhaust fan, and what needs to be checked to ensure the decision is correct. – Maruska, NSW

Q: I am looking for assistance with a case repair exhaust fan.

I live in a building with 28 units. Bathrooms and laundry in this property were built without windows so exhaust fans appeared at the time when the strata plan was registered to comply with the building regulations and requirements that were in place at the time of construction.

The false ceilings were installed on the registration of the strata plan and were there to hide communal piping and ducting. Every unit has an exhaust fan mounted above the false ceiling in the laundry. Section 106 (Strata Schemes Management Act 2015) – Duty of the owner’s corporation to maintain and repair the common property. As per my understanding if there is an issue arising from or on common property, then the Owners Corporation should perform the works required to repair this. Additionally, section 106(2) covers that repairs to fixtures or fittings that are common property or personal property vested in the Owners Corporation. The Strata manager and committee members stated that the exhaust fan serves just my unit, is connected to my electricity and is my responsibility. Also, OC stated that the area above the falling ceiling is my area because just I can reach these areas so is my own property.
I am trying to determine who is responsible for repairing the exhaust fan, and what needs to be checked to ensure the decision is correct.


A: Several factors need to be considered when determining responsibility; these include the registered by-laws and the registered strata plan.
Generally speaking, the unit’s ceiling lining is where the common area’s boundary begins; therefore, any item within that area above the ceiling usually forms part of the common property and is likely to be the Owners Corporation’s responsibility. As the exhaust fan is recessed within the airspace of the ceiling, it should be considered common property. However, to be sure, the registered by-laws and the strata plan would need to be reviewed.