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When does the Body Corporate become liable for the rectification of damage to the property?

For a scheme created under a building format plan of subdivision (BFP), section 180 of the Body Corporate and Community Management (Standard Module) Regulation 2020 states that the Body Corporate must maintain in good condition doors, windows and associated fittings situated in a boundary wall separating a lot from common property. This is relevant to part of the Adjudicators Order we review this month.

In the Adjudicators Order Aspect Murarrie [2022] QBCCMCmr 223, the applicant was seeking an order that the Body Corporate engage a contractor to attend to rectification works within her lot including mould removal, pay reimbursement for personal property loss, payment of a daily allowance for relocation expenses and other various items. The Adjudicator dismissed the owners application, so we looked into the reasons behind this decision.

The owner noted within the application that during the December 2019 storms, water flooded her unit and during removal of the bedroom carpets discovered that water had entered the bedrooms from windows in the boundary wall of the lot when it rained and continued to leak until the windows were replaced by the Body Corporate in April 2021.

The Body Corporates insurer, after initially refusing to repair the water damage to the lot offered a cash settlement based on a quote obtained for the repairs required to the lot. This was offered to the owner the money to the owner if a deed of settlement was signed releasing the body corporate from all future claims relating to water damage to her lot which she refused. During this time, mould continued to grow in the unit with the unit being deemed uninhabitable and the majority of the owners belongings needing to be restored or incinerated. Hence the owners request for orders as per the application.

The Body Corporate Committee provided a response to the application and disputed that the Body Corporate was liable for any of the repairs or any payments to the owner for loss of personal items or relocation costs, noting that they were of the opinion that the windows leaked as a result of the installation of security screens which blocked the windows drainage. This comment was disputed by the Owner with evidence that the holes were not created by the screen installers and were also found in other windows in the complex.

Whilst the Adjudicator did agree that the maintenance responsibility of the windows was that of the Body Corporate, it was noted through the order that the damage that was quoted by the contractor to repair related to damage sustained when the lot was inundated in December 2019 and as such would not order the Body Corporate to engage the contractor to carry out the works. This then flowed through to the other orders sought with the application being dismissed

The full order can be read here.

More information relating to maintenance responsibilities for a Building Format Plan (BFP) can be found on the Commissioners Office website.

It is important to note that the adjudicators orders that we review each month are made on a case by case basis by the commissioners office based on the applications, submissions, by laws pertaining to each of the schemes, legislation that is applicable and are not a fit all order.