A client, who lives in a double-story sectional title complex, asked me: “My neighbour above me has a water leak in his bathroom. Water has seeped through to my unit and damaged my ceiling and wall. Who must pay for the damage to my unit, the Body Corporate or my neighbour?’
The Sectional Titles Act, read with the Management Rules, provides that an owner (let’s call him A) must repair and maintain his section in a state of good repair.
Section 37 of the Sectional Titles Act requires the body corporate to maintain and repair the common property.
Because the leak emanates from A’s bathroom (and is not common property) A, and not the Body Corporate, must repair the leak, within a reasonable time, to prevent further damage.
If A fails to co-operate, B can ask the body corporate to intervene and ask a repairman to repair the leak. A must allow the repairman (authorised in writing by the body corporate) to enter his section at a reasonable time, after due notice, to fix the leak, at A’s expense. Notice is not required in the case of emergency.
Regarding the damage to B’s ceiling and wall, it’s more than likely that the Body Corporate is insured against such consequential damage and B can claim from the insurers. Unfortunately, he’ll have to pay any excess.