Buying a New Condo? What Maintenance Issues Are You Responsible for?

If you have decided to downsize your home, then you may be moving out of a single-family dwelling and into an apartment or condo. In your former house, you would have been responsible for all repairs and maintenance, but this may not be the case now that you are moving into a multi-family structure. This can be confusing for many people, as they don't know who is responsible for various tasks. If you're scratching your head at the moment, what should you know?

Typical Delineation

In any strata-managed building, the management company will be responsible for certain aspects of maintenance and the owner for others. In very general terms, the common areas are looked after by the management, but anything within the four walls of a unit are typically down to the owner.

Ceilings and Walls

There may nevertheless be some grey areas that could cause confusion. For example, who is responsible for an issue with the ceiling of the unit? Typically, this will be the management company if the problem relates to the 'top' of the ceiling structure, or any component that feeds through the ceiling into the apartment or condo. This could include an exhaust fan, a light fitting or a TV aerial, as just some examples. The owner, on the other hand, will be responsible for any paintwork applied to the 'bottom' of the ceiling, as well as any features that are wholly within the unit.

The same goes for the boundary walls, where the corporation has to look after anything that falls within the boundaries. This could include electrical cabling or insulation, for example.

Water Works

You may need to refer to the particular management company to see how they deal with plumbing issues, as these are definitely the greyest of grey areas.

It's not always cut and dry if you get some damage to your apartment from a water leak. However, if this was due to a pipe blockage in another area of the building, then the owners' corporation will take care of it. They will almost always be on the hook to fix any blocked sewers or drains and to maintain rainwater systems on the outside of the structure.

Outdoor Areas

As you can imagine, the management company will take care of the garden areas, walkways and parking areas. You need to deal with any plants or trees that you may have growing on a patio and make sure that they do not spill over into the common area at any time.

Check the List

Before you move into your property, make sure that you get a comprehensive list of responsibilities from your strata property management company. This will help you understand the parameters so there is no confusion going forward.