Who’s on the Hook? Clarifying Repair Responsibilities in Strata Communities

Living in a strata community offers many advantages, including shared amenities, security, and a sense of community. However, the division of maintenance and repair responsibilities between individual owners and the strata corporation can often lead to confusion. Understanding who is responsible for what can save time, money, and potential disputes. This article will help clarify these responsibilities, ensuring that everyone in the strata community knows who’s on the hook for various repairs.

Understanding Strata Living

Strata living, also known as condominium or community title living, involves owning an individual unit within a larger complex while sharing ownership of common areas such as gardens, hallways, pools, and recreational facilities. The management and maintenance of these shared spaces are typically handled by the strata corporation, which is often overseen by a strata management company. Effective strata management is crucial for maintaining the property, enforcing rules, and ensuring a harmonious living environment.

The Role of Strata Management

Strata management plays a pivotal role in the upkeep and administration of strata properties. A strata management company, hired by the owners’ corporation, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the property. Their duties include maintaining common areas, overseeing financial matters, ensuring compliance with by-laws, and addressing the needs and concerns of residents. By managing these tasks efficiently, strata management helps prevent conflicts and ensures the property remains in good condition.

Common Property vs. Private Property

A key aspect of understanding repair responsibilities in a strata community is distinguishing between common property and private property:

  • Common Property: This includes areas and facilities shared by all owners, such as the building’s exterior, structural elements, gardens, hallways, and recreational amenities. The maintenance and repair of these areas fall under the responsibility of the owners’ corporation, managed by the strata management company.
  • Private Property: This refers to the individual units owned by residents. Owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing their units, including interior fixtures, fittings, and any exclusive use areas like balconies or courtyards.

Responsibilities of the Owners’ Corporation

The owners’ corporation, often through the strata management company, handles the maintenance and repair of common property. Key responsibilities include:

  1. Routine Maintenance: Regular upkeep of common areas, including cleaning, gardening, and minor repairs.
  2. Major Repairs and Replacements: Addressing significant issues such as roof repairs, structural maintenance, and major infrastructure projects.
  3. Compliance and Safety: Ensuring the property meets legal and safety standards, including fire safety regulations and building codes.
  4. Financial Management: Collecting strata fees, managing budgets, and maintaining a reserve fund for future repairs and emergencies.
  5. Communication and Dispute Resolution: Facilitating communication between owners, addressing concerns, and resolving disputes.

Responsibilities of Individual Owners

Owners have specific responsibilities within their units and exclusive use areas. These include:

  1. Interior Maintenance: Upkeep of the interior of the unit, including plumbing, electrical systems, and fixtures.
  2. Repairs: Addressing any repairs needed within the unit, such as fixing leaks, repairing appliances, and maintaining interior surfaces.
  3. Exclusive Use Areas: Maintaining areas granted for exclusive use, such as balconies, courtyards, or parking spaces.
  4. Compliance with By-Laws: Ensuring their unit complies with the strata scheme’s by-laws and regulations, including noise restrictions and pet policies.

Common Maintenance Scenarios and Responsibilities

Roof Leaks

  • Common Property: If a roof leak is due to a failure in the common property, such as the roof or external walls, the owners’ corporation is responsible for the repair.
  • Private Property: If the leak originates from within an individual unit, such as from a bathroom or kitchen fixture, the owner is responsible for fixing it.

Plumbing Issues

  • Common Pipes: Issues with shared plumbing systems, such as a blockage in a common drain, are the responsibility of the owners’ corporation.
  • Internal Pipes: If the problem is within the plumbing of an individual unit, the owner must address the repair.


  • Structural Elements: The owners’ corporation is generally responsible for the structural integrity of balconies, including the floor slab and balustrades.
  • Surface Maintenance: Owners are typically responsible for maintaining the surface of the balcony, including tiles or decking, and any exclusive use items.


  • External Maintenance: The owners’ corporation usually handles the repair and maintenance of window frames and external glazing.
  • Internal Maintenance: Owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing the interior surfaces of windows, including cleaning and minor repairs.

Electrical Systems

  • Common Areas: Electrical systems serving common areas, such as hallway lighting or security systems, are maintained by the owners’ corporation.
  • Individual Units: Electrical issues within an individual unit, such as faulty wiring or broken fixtures, are the responsibility of the unit owner.

Preventing and Resolving Disputes

Disputes can arise when there is confusion or disagreement over maintenance responsibilities. Here are some tips to prevent and resolve disputes:

  1. Understand By-Laws: Familiarize yourself with the strata scheme’s by-laws, which outline the responsibilities for maintenance and repairs.
  2. Maintain Open Communication: Keep open lines of communication with the strata management company and the owners’ corporation. Report issues promptly and clearly.
  3. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of any maintenance issues, including dates, communications, and actions taken.
  4. Seek Mediation: If a dispute arises, consider mediation through a neutral third party, such as a strata lawyer or mediator, to resolve the issue amicably.

The Importance of Proactive Strata Management

A competent and proactive strata management company can significantly impact the smooth operation and maintenance of a strata property. They handle routine tasks and major repairs, manage finances, and resolve disputes efficiently. When selecting a strata management company, consider their experience, reputation, and the range of services they offer to ensure they meet the needs of your strata scheme.

Tips for Effective Strata Maintenance

  1. Regular Inspections: Schedule regular inspections of common areas and individual units to identify and address maintenance issues early.
  2. Clear Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels between owners, the strata committee, and the strata management company to report and resolve issues promptly.
  3. Maintenance Plans: Develop and implement maintenance plans for common property to ensure regular upkeep and timely repairs.
  4. Budgeting: Ensure the owners’ corporation maintains a healthy reserve fund for future repairs and emergencies.
  5. Owner Involvement: Encourage owners to be involved in the maintenance process by attending meetings, staying informed, and participating in decision-making.

Understanding the responsibilities and duties in maintaining a strata property is essential for a harmonious and well-maintained living environment. The owners’ corporation, often through a strata management company, is responsible for common property, while individual owners must maintain their units and exclusive use areas. By understanding these responsibilities, fostering clear communication, and adopting proactive maintenance practices, residents can enjoy the benefits of strata living with confidence and peace of mind.

Maintaining a well-functioning strata community requires cooperation, a clear delineation of responsibilities, and a proactive approach to addressing issues. Whether you’re a current strata property owner or considering purchasing a unit, knowing who handles what repairs will help you navigate the complexities of strata living successfully.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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