Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

When must the body corporate pay for my repairs?

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By Anton Kelly

Owners in sectional title schemes often think that the body corporate is automatically responsible to repair damage to their section if the damage is the result of some failure of the common property.

The basic maintenance and repair responsibilities are set out in the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act “the Act” in Section 3, Functions of the body corporate and Section 13, Duties of owners. The body corporate must maintain all the common property and keep it in a state of good and serviceable repair, and an owner must repair and maintain his or her section in a state of good repair.

Of course, failure to maintain the property for which one is responsible often has an adverse effect on other property. Examples are leaking roofs and showers that damage the sections below. But not all damage is caused by neglect.

Quite common examples of the cause of serious repair issues are subsidence and foundation failure, which are not usually maintenance issues. Cracks in floors and walls can be the result and, in extreme cases, compromise of the building’s structural integrity. While the damage to property is not always extensive, water ingress causing damp can be very difficult and expensive, and sometimes impossible, to cure. What is the body corporate’s responsibility in these situations, and does it extend to the repair of damage to sections?

It’s obvious that, in the examples above, the owner with the leaking shower must have the leak repaired, and the body corporate must repair the roof leak and the failure of the foundations, but do they have some responsibility for the resultant damage to sections?

The Act apportions the legal responsibility for maintenance and repair of the common property to the body corporate, and maintenance and repair of sections to their owners. It does not deal with responsibility for consequential or resultant damage. The body corporate is not, therefore, automatically responsible for the repair of damage to sections caused by a failure of the common property, but the owner concerned is entitled to make a claim for the reasonable cost of the repair from the body corporate. Likewise, the owner whose section is damaged by a leak from another section is entitled to claim the cost of their repair from the other owner.

Making a claim from the body corporate, or another owner, could be as simple as sending a copy of the repair invoice and payment receipt with a polite request for reimbursement. If the request is refused, the owners may seek assistance from the Community Scheme Ombud.

The Community Schemes Ombud Service Act provides a list of orders that applicants for dispute resolution can request. These orders deal with a range of community scheme financial, behavioural, and physical issues. Included are an order that a person carry out specified repairs, and an order that a person pay an amount, decided on by an adjudicator, as reimbursement for repairs made by the applicant.

If you own property in a community scheme and have suffered a loss as a result of the failure of property for which another person is responsible, and need assistance with making an application to the Community Scheme Ombud, please contact consulting@paddocks.co.za for a no obligation quotation.

For more on which parts of the scheme form part of common property, visit this blog post.

Image source: Unsplash


The Guide to CSOS Applications for Dispute Resolution

Paddocks has designed a free, online guide to assist you in understanding the CSOS, the types of orders it can grant and the process of putting together an application for dispute resolution. Click here to visit the guide and minimise the chance of your order being rejected unnecessarily.

 

 

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4 comments on “When must the body corporate pay for my repairs?

  1. Graham Sifrin
    August 30, 2017

    There seems to be a hole in the system of responsibility for cost of repairs especially in respect of consequential damage suffered . So, using your example of a leak from a shower or any other cause which damages the unit below, I would have thought there would be a claim against the Body Corporate’s Building Insurance policy from the point of view that individual owners do not carry insurance against such damage as may result from some event above or even alongside, be they on the causal side or sufferer of the damage.
    Obviously I am not referring to damage to personal goods and possessions which would fall under an individuals’ cover but rather to, for example, damage to parquet flooring , plastering and repainting that might need to be redone etc.
    I find this a bit of a poser as I have previously inquired into whether a product was available that would cover this sort of event and was told ,”not at all”. My inquiry was, by the way, made to a company that had insured the building in which I owned a unit.
    Unless something of this sort would automatically fall under the individuals’ household contents policy, it seems there’s a gap in the cover available to homeowners.
    Id be grateful if someone could throw some light on this .

    • Paddocks
      September 13, 2017

      Dear Graham,

      Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

    • demetri@tiscali.co.za
      September 27, 2017

      Dear Graham

      I live in a town house complex (sectional title scheme) and we (home owners) are covered for resultant damage caused by roof or geyser leaks through our current insurance policy.

  2. admin@gjcloete.co.za
    August 23, 2017

    Kindly please delete the email address gertcloete@mweb.co.za from your records and replace it with admin@gjcloete.co.zaKind regards Gert Cloete Sent from my Huawei Mobile

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