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    Leo 0708

    Hi Amanda

    In Jan last year the the Dishwasher from Unit B had a burst pipe. It leaked into the the ceiling of the dining room in Unit A below. A plumber was called by the owner of UNIT B and the dishwasher repaired. The plumber knows this building well as he does the work for the OC.

    Unit A below Unit B advised us of the leak of water into their dining room ceiling. This had occurred on a previous occasion with the same dishwasher and had ben dealt with.

    The OC paid for the plumber to review the water damage to the ceiling of Unit A.  The advice was let it dry out before the Owner of Unit B paid for the repainting of their ceiling. This may take months due to magnesite being wet!   This is the complication. Magnesite.

    So the leak from Unit B into Unit A  means water travelled through magnesite, common property.  The OC was informed that wet magnesite would take ages to dry out.

    Now 11 months later the OC is informed by owners of Unit A who have been waiting for their ceiling to be repaired that it is still not dry.

    This becomes complex as to what must the OC do & pay for and what does the Owner of Unit B with the leaking Dishwasher pay for.

    SC thoughts are that the OC in this instance again investigates the cause of the dampness in Unit A.  Is it still the Dishwasher or is there something else. This is paid for by the OC.

    If it is the dishwasher owned by Unit B what is their responsibility and how are the costs apportioned.

    The leaks form his dishwasher on 2 occasions have wet the magnesite common property and it being wet for such a long time means that the slab is now at risk of concrete spalling. The fact that this took place on a previous occasion means the risk of damage to the slab is higher. However there is NO way to tell if the concrete has been impaired by the leaks as the magnesite is under the floorboards in the dining room of Unit B.

    This would means the floorboards of Unit B would need to be removed to access the magnesite to see if there was spalling caused by the leak from his Dishwasher.  Who is then responsible for what and who pays pays for what? Where do we start?

    My head hurts?



    Hi Leo,

    If the magnesite has been wet for that long, then you almost definitely have concrete spalling and the owners corporation should take up the flooring to check for it and remove the spalling (and also the magnesite while you’re at it) before it spreads.

    I would also suggest that something else is causing it to stay damp for that long. I’ve never heard of it taking 11 months to dry out a concrete slab even with magnesite.

    Amanda Farmer

    Hi Leo,

    In my view, the OC is not responsible to pay for anything – yet.

    The cause is apparently a leaking dishwasher (lot property). There has been no failure to repair and maintain the common property (the mere presence of magnesite is not a failure to repair and maintain).

    I accept that with wet magnesite around, the slab (common property) is at risk of spalling. For that reason, pressure should be placed on the owner of unit B to get to the bottom of this. Is their dishwasher still leaking? Probably.

    It’s probably unlikely the leak is coming from another source, but if that’s something the OC wants to investigate then yes, send in a contractor but this time with agreement from the owner of B that if the problem is not with the common property, the owner will  bear the cost of that investigation.

    As to responsibility for any concrete spalling, expert opinion will be needed as to whether the spalling is the result of this recent leak, or has been there longer. Again, you could approach that on the basis that the OC will arrange the contractor to do the inspection and reporting, but the unit B owner will be ultimately responsible if it’s determined that the spalling would not have occurred, but for the lot property leak.

    As you can see, everything comes back to identifying the source of the leak, so focus on finding and fixing that for now, but be careful that the Owners Corporation does admit any responsibility.


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