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NCAT awards damages for failure to repair common property

NCAT awards damages for failure to repair common property

In a recent case, NCAT ordered an owners corporation to pay damages of $7,730 to lot owners because they suffered a loss of rent when the owners corporation failed to rectify water ingress into the lot.

In Huang & Giang vThe Owners Strata Plan No. 65865 [2021] NSWCATCD 15, the lot owners suffered water ingress into their lot between 2018-2020. In that period, they had to reduce the rent their tenant paid and the tenant vacated the lot because of the water ingress. There was evidence that the owners corporation did band aid temporary repairs only which ultimately failed to stop the water ingress. So, the lot owners brought a claim for damages against the owners corporation which was successful.

The decision also dealt with the 2 year limitation period within which a lot owner must bring a damages claim. NCAT said that the 2 year limitation period commences when a lot owner first actually suffers financial loss rather than when an owners corporation first commits a breach of its duty to repair and maintain common property.

Another aspect of the case indicates the difficulty owners corporations may experience defending damages claims where they have failed to repair and maintain common property. In this case, the owners corporation failed to serve its evidence despite getting two extensions of time from NCAT to do so. It tried to file and serve its evidence late on the day of the trial but NCAT refused to let it do so.

To find out more about this case or this topic, please contact us.

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