Paying twice for remediation work


Will I be required to pay the special levy for cladding leak remediation even though I have already spent $7000 to fix a leak in my apartment’s exterior wall out of my pocket?

I have already spent $7000 to repair a leak in the exterior wall of my apartment, repaired by a tradesperson from inside my unit. The owners corporation plans to collect a special levy to address cladding leaks on the building’s exterior, with a special resolution meeting scheduled for next month. Since I have already covered the cost of fixing the leak in my unit, am I required to contribute to the special levy? In other words, will I be expected to pay twice for the remediation work I have already taken care of out of my pocket?

Carrying out repairs to the common property is an owners corporation responsibility.

The location of the boundaries, as shown on the plan of subdivision, will determine whether the works were to private or common property. Also, the layout of the building would help to determine how the benefit principle should/could be applied. Although I need more information for a definitive answer, I have provided some general information that might assist.

How did you keep the owners corporation in the loop, and what agreements were made? Carrying out repairs to the common property is an owners corporation responsibility. If the building walls are common and the cladding system providing waterproofing requires repair, the cost are usually split by lot liability as the collective owners corporation all benefits from having a water-tight building.

If the work you have done reduced the repair work by the owners corporation, you could argue that you should be credited the cost savings. A sympathetic owners corporation may agree. However, these complicated matters are often not that clear-cut.

Was the work you carried out absolutely necessary at that time and could not wait for the owners corporation to carry out the full repairs? If so, what evidence do you have to support this view? Was there any agreement requested of the owners corporation? If so, did they provide a reasonable response?

The answer to these questions will help to ascertain whether the owners corporation failed in its duty to repair and maintain the common property and you perhaps had no option but to have repairs done to protect your property and mitigate against other possible costs and damages. The answer to that might assist in working out if none, some, or all of your costs should be reimbursed.

The owners corporation might argue you had other options available and that the $7000 need not have been spent and might not reduce the overall cost.

Professional people with good building knowledge could probably work through this and come to a fair assessment of what if any, costs should be reimbursed. Perhaps you and the owner’s corporation could agree to engage an independent building expert to make a determination and both parties agree to their findings. Unfortunately, their costs would need to be shared too and could be
a few thousand dollars. You might prefer a negotiated settlement.

The complexities of such matters mean that they often end up in VCAT, which is costly and time-consuming. I suggest trying to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement.

Please note that this is intended to assist with a practical way forward and is not legal advice.

Anton Silove | MBCM Strata Specialists Frankston, Mornington and Chelsea

Looking for more information? We’re here to help.

Enter your contact details and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

Get a free quote

Enter your details and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.