Residing in a body corporate community implies that most concerns are handled by the body corporate (the organisational body responsible for the subdivided property). While this seems like a simple concept, it can be confusing when the question of repair costs comes into play (especially when it comes to plumbing issues). Is it the responsibility of the lot owner, or body corporate?
Well, it depends on where the plumbing issues are and what facilities it affects. In this article, we explore the responsibilities of body corporate and lot owners so you can determine who foots the bills for plumbing repairs!
What Exactly Is A Body Corporate?
A body corporate is a legally recognised organisation that comes into being when a parcel of land is subdivided and registered under the Land Title Act 1994, thereby setting up a community titles scheme. When you purchase a lot in a community titles scheme you automatically become a member of the body corporate.
A body corporate is an organisational structure designed to manage and maintain shared property assets. Typically seen in multi-tenant complexes such as residential apartments, townhouses or commercial buildings, a body corporate comprises all the property owners within the complex. They work together, or elect a committee to oversee, the upkeep of common areas, building insurance and overall compliance with property laws and regulations.
What Are Body Corporates Responsible For?
Responsibilities of a body corporate span primarily involve the administration and maintenance of common areas within the property complex. A body corporate is responsible for enforcing by-laws, managing finances, insurance and addressing disputes within the complex. Their goal is to maintain a comfortable, safe and harmonious living environment for all occupants.
The responsibilities of a body corporate can vary so always check your agreement; however, body corporates are generally responsible for maintaining and repairing:
- Roads, gardens and lawns on common property
- Facilities on common property (like swimming pools and barbecues)
- Utility infrastructure (like equipment, pipes and wiring) that is on common property, or in a boundary structure, or services more than one lot.
What Are Lot Owners Responsible For?
Again, what lot owners are responsible for can vary, so check your body corporate agreement. However, in most cases, lot owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing:
- The inside of their building, including all fixtures and fittings (excluding utility infrastructure that is common property)
- The outside of their building within their lot boundary, including exterior walls, doors, windows and roof
- All lawns, gardens and driveways inside the boundary of their lot
- Utility infrastructure (such as pipes and wiring) that is inside the boundaries of their lot and only services that lot
- Any fixtures or fittings (including on common property) that are installed by the occupier of the lot for their benefit
Is A Body Corporate Responsible For Plumbing Issues?
Sometimes! If there are plumbing issues associated with facilities on common property (such as a leaking swimming pool or damaged irrigation system for communal gardens), it is the responsibility of the body corporate. Likewise, if there is a leak in the mains or in another pipe that resides on common property or in a pipe that services more than one lot, then it will be the body corporate’s responsibility. Any main utilities disruptions (including water, drainage and sewers) are also the responsibility of body corporate.
If a lot owner experiences issues with taps, toilets, fixtures or leaking pipe within their building, it’s going to be their responsibility. The same goes for any plumbing that has been installed for their benefit. If an owner has a leak that affects other surrounding lots, it is also their responsibility. If the water damage originates within their individual lot, they as lot owner are generally responsible for repairs.
Are There Any Grey Areas?
Always! The rules may vary depending on the format plan of your property and individual body corporate agreements. That’s why it’s always good practice to carefully read your body corporate agreement and to encourage open communication between lot owners and the body corporate committee prior to beginning repairs and maintenance projects.
If you are experiencing a plumbing issue, your first point of call is to call in a certified body corporate plumber to assess the issue, define the root cause and to clarify where exactly the associated pipes or fixtures are located. This assessment can help you establish whether it the lot owner or the body corporate who is responsible for footing the bill.
Looking For Body Corporate Plumbing On The Gold Coast?
Oceanside Services can help! Specialising in body corporate plumbing, we provide professional, reliable and prompt services to tackle all your plumbing needs. With more than 20 years of experience in the field, we understand the complexity of plumbing systems in multi-unit complexes and the importance of rapid responses. We can provide body corporate plumbing for high-rises, apartment blocks and other properties. With our Gold Coast body corporate plumbers on the case, you can minimise expenses, satisfy your tenants and free up time for more important business matters.