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NCAT confirms $97,000 damages award

NCAT’s Appeal Panel has confirmed a $97,000 damages award in favour of a lot owner against an owners corporation that failed to repair common property.

The case is The Owners – Strata Plan No 80412 v Vickery [2021] NSWCATAP 98, which had previously been to the NSW Court of Appeal. In 2020, the Court of Appeal confirmed that NCAT could award damages to a lot owner for losses suffered because an owners corporation breached its duty to repair and maintain common property under section 106 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.

Mr Vickery’s lot experienced water leaks so his tenant moved out. However the owners corporation did not rectify the water leak for several years and therefore Mr Vickery suffered a loss of rent for a 2 year period. The owners corporation eventually fixed the water leak but not before Mr Vickery’s losses amounted to $97,000.

The decision confirms the trend in NCAT decisions awarding damages to lot owners who suffer losses (eg loss of rent, alternative accommodation, damage to personal property) where the owners corporation does not fix water leaks into their apartments. These decisions also confirm that water leaks are almost always the responsibility of owners corporations to fix.

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