Apartment pipe defect - who pays?
Question from Mobolaji updated on 11th January 2013:
If there is a leak from the mains pipe into a neighbour's apartment due to plumbing defect (structural fault) then who is responsible for repairs? We have a body corporate that collects fees for shared utilities. The place in the wall where the leak is coming from is unlikely to be caused by tenants.
Our expert Ollie Mitch responded:
A body corporate has a statutory duty to maintain and repair common property in s.138(2) Unit Titles Act 2010. Mains pipes are common property. Damage arising to an owner's unit or personal property, as a result of defective pipe work (particularly where the pipes serve more than one unit), would, therefore, be a matter of negligence on the part of the body corporate. This would be due to a failure by the body corporate to keep the pipes in a state of good and reasonable repair. This is, ordinarily, not withstanding if the body corporate was unaware of the damage or disrepair. An owner could, therefore, make a claim in damages against the body corporate for payment of the costs associated to rectify the damage. It would be a matter for the body corporate to either pay the costs to the owner up front in order for him/her to repair the damage him/herself or repair the damage itself. Alternatively, the body corporate may wait for any claim to be made by the owner of the particular unit and take it from there.Ollie Mitch is head of sales at Iconicity, leading apartment investment specialists and the largest private buyer and seller of apartments in Auckland City. Phone 09 300 5073, email email@example.com or visit www.iconicity.co.nz