Does your unit have water damage? Are you placing buckets under constant pitter-patter through in rainy days? Water ingress is a troublesome problem which a property owner is clouded with. The question we’re faced with is who would be responsible to fix the problem?

Joe is a new owner of a sectional title unit which he brought from an acquaintance. After his first rainy week in his new home, he discovered that water is leaking into his spare bedroom which is situated right underneath his balcony. His walls are soaked and his paint starting to bubble. What does he do now?

It simmers down to what the cause of the water ingress is. By ascertaining where the leak stems from and what the cause is, will help in establishing where the responsibility for repair lies. Water and damp problems usually originate on the roof, in the foundation or from an outside wall as these places are mostly affected by the weather. As these are all parts of the common property, in terms of Section 37 of the Sectional Titles Act, the body corporate is responsible for the work necessary to repair and stop a water leak, this includes the cost of the repairs. Since the body corporates is responsible for the upkeep of the common property. It is the Body Corporate’s responsibility to ensure that the surface area of your unit, which forms part of the common property, is waterproofed.

You will begin by assessing the factors particular to your situation. For each cause resulting in a water leak or water damage you will have a remedy. In Joe’s case, it seems to be due to a fault in the construction of the building. As the roof of your sectional title unit forms part of the common property of the complex it is the Body Corporate’s responsibility to ensure that it is waterproofed correctly so that the water does not leak into Joe’s room. The body corporate should have a guarantee from the contractors who constructed the roof and the contractor will need to assess and fix the problem.

A special levy may be imposed on all owners to provide the funds needed for the problem to be repaired by the Body Corporate. The special levy will be imposed on every owner and not just the owners suffering from the leakage problem. The trustees have the authority to impose the special levy upon all owners in terms of the management rules as this is deemed a necessary repair.

As Joe’s beautiful painting hanging in his spare room was ruined due to this roof leak, he wants to know what his position is with regards to this damage caused. This will be determined on the merits of each case and the particular individual circumstances in determining whether the insurance will be liable to pay to repair the damages caused.

It is of the utmost importance that the Body Corporate has to upkeep the necessary repairs on the building. Should they default in this it is in no way the properties insurance that will be held responsible to pay out in order to repair the damages and the Body Corporate could be faced with some hefty expenses in repairing the external and internal problems due to a lack of maintenance.

Unlike in Joe’s case, water leakage may be caused by other factors too. An owner may be faced with rising damp, water leaking from your upstairs neighbours, excessive rainfall, a leaking bath and many more scenarios. There are an abundance of factors which may result in this.

Assess whether it is due to the construction of the building or whether it is a fault of your own. Take into consideration that the age of the building will be a considerate factor, as does the weather your area is prone to. As your building ages, the waterproofing done in the construction of it may now have become inadequate. It is all dependant on where the cause of the water damage/water ingress stems from. Should it stem from common property then it is always the Body Corporate’s responsibility to upgrade and repair. Be sure to assess your damage instantly and act on it as soon as possible, as water damage can cause a major leak in any budget.

Kindly call us for any queries or property advice and as always #HappyRenting.

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