Water damage inside strata lots is all too common these days. As a strata management company, this damage can turn into a real messy situation.
What causes water damage in strata lots?
Some common causes are leaking pipes or dishwashers, or an overflowing toilet or tub. Whatever the cause may be, these situations generally can turn into a mess of finger pointing and hurt feelings between strata owners. The problems are generally amplified in homes with hardwood or laminate flooring, which can be easily damaged by water.
Who is responsible for water damage in a strata?
Typically, unless your bylaws state otherwise, strata corporations are responsible for common areas, and strata lot owners are responsible for their own individual strata lots.
Where things can get sticky, is when the cause occurs in one strata lot, and then consequently affects another strata lot. A common example of this would be when an upper floor toilet overflows and leaks down into multiple strata lots below.
In this case, the owner is a named insured under the Strata Property Act, and the Strata Corporation will typically pick up the bill if the damage is greater than the Strata Corporation’s insurance deductible (can be $5,000 or $10,000). The Strata Corporation will generally then turn around and come after the Strata Lot owner for the deductible, who would hopefully have insurance to cover this amount.
If the damage to the strata lot is less than the deductible (Say that the damage is only $2000 and the deductible in $5000 in this case), the Strata Corporation would only be responsible for repairs to common property (common walls and ceilings), and not to either of the Strata lots. The affected strata lot (the one who got flooded out due to the upper strata lot’s toilet overflow), would then have to sue the upper strata lot. This would generally be done through their insurance company.
How strata corporations can mitigate water damage issues
A good way to avoid some of this complicated mess is to create a strata bylaw that indicates an owner who is responsible for the damage to pay for the damage or loss.
Another good piece of advice is to ensure that all strata owners have proper insurance to cover the deductibles, as well as personal property.
Looking for some help with your strata management? Please contact our strata management company here!