Section 281 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 allows for an Adjudicator to make orders that a person, they reasonably believe to be responsible for a contravention of the Act, either carry out required repairs to the damaged property, or reimburse costs incurred by the applicant in carrying out repairs.
An example, noted in the above section, of this would be where a waterproofing membrane in a roofing structure fails and there is damage to the wallpaper or carpets within a lot. As the waterproofing membrane is part of the common property and the leak results from a failure on the part of the body corporate to maintain it in good order and condition, the adjudicator could order the body corporate to have the damage repaired or pay an appropriate amount as reimbursement for amounts incurred by the owner in repairing the property
In this months adjudicators order, the application was made by an occupant seeking reimbursement of the costs incurred to rectify damaged paintwork on his vehicle which was caused by a water leak from a pipe above the car in the concrete slab.
The adjudicator sought submissions from the respondent, which was made via the body corporate manager who noted that a claim had been made on the insurance policy held by the body corporate but was declined on the grounds that the insurer was satisfied that the body corporate had taken appropriate action to mitigate damage once the issue had been reported and had not been negligent. As the claim had been considered and rejected by the insurer, the body corporate were requesting that the application be dismissed.
The adjudicator noted, notwithstanding that the body corporate took prompt action to rectify the leak when it had become known, the body corporate under its maintenance obligations has a duty to keep the thing in proper order by acts of maintenance before it falls out of condition, in a state which enables it to serve the purpose for which it exists.
As such, the order was made that the body corporate reimburse the occupant for the costs incurred with rectification of the paintwork on his vehicle.
The full order can be read here.