Common Property Balconies

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Forums Repairs and maintenance Common Property Balconies

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  • #233611
    Tucki Tucki
    Member

    According to the copy of bylaws attached to our contract of purchase in 2015 the only one additional bylaw was registered in 1983 regarding one of our balconies, it only refers to future replacement of the roll down canvas blinds being uniform in colour.

    Our second balcony had sliding glass windows (aluminium powder coated frames) fitted about 30 years ago. The three lot owners who installed these windows failed to register any bylaws regarding their installation or conditions of Strata re: common property maintenance obligations.

    The Secretary of the OC informed us understandably that insurance and maintenance of these windows was the present owners’ responsibility, fair enough.

    When the building was being painted we were informed by the OC Secretary that the enclosed balcony ceiling including supporting floor to ceiling pillars and cement rendered balcony wall including the wrought iron decorative inserts were no longer Common Property and the three lot owners were responsible for the cost of painting.  The ceiling, pillars and wall of our other balcony with roll down blinds was painted as it was still deemed Common Property maintenance.

    I am disputing why one balcony is considered as common property and the other is not. My SP shows all the balconies in the building are clearly marked in heavy dark lines as Common Property.  They are part of the outer structure of the building, including supporting floor to ceiling pillars on each floor.

    My understanding is common property is maintained by Strata.

    I have contacted our Strata Manager who indicated this is a grey area, the OC say the balcony was enclosed without permission and now exclusively used by the lot owner!

    Aren’t all lot owners’ balconies used exclusively by each lot owner?

    My understanding is we pay levies/entitlements on the size of our lots which includes our two balconies.

    Can amendments be made to our present model bylaws to rectify this problem?

    Do I need to go to the expense of making a separate By Law to clarify this situation.

    Strata Management said a Strata lawyer must give a ruling on this matter, costs to be borne by me.

    Is there anything in the present legislation to cover this issue.

    Welcome some advice please,

    Tucki Tucki

    #234160
    Amanda Farmer
    Expert

    Hi Tucki Tucki,

    It’s a little tricky to provide general guidance here : knowledge of your strata plan and exactly where the proposed work is located is important. You mention “floor to ceiling pillars” and wrought iron decorative inserts as part of your balcony. A clearer understanding of the area would be helpful.

    What year was your strata plan registered? Common property boundaries are defined differently in strata plans registered pre 1974 (see Forum posts here on that topic:

    https://yourstrataproperty.com.au/qanda/topic/pre-1974-lot-vs-common-property/

    https://yourstrataproperty.com.au/qanda/topic/pre-jul-1-1974-balconies/).

    You may or may not be in that category)

    If the only issue is the enclosure of the balcony – I agree with you, I don’t see how this transfers responsibility for unaffected parts of the common property to you.

    However, I am also not clear on why the Owners Corporation is taking responsibility for painting the inside surface of balconies in the first place. If the boundary of the common property is the upper surface of the floor, inner surface of the wall and under surface of the ceiling, then internal painting is the responsibility of the owner, not the Owners Corporation – just as it would be in your bedroom, for example. Enclosed or not, the inner surface of balconies is lot owner responsibility.

    Feel free to reach out to me via enquiries@lawyerschambers.com.au should you require some specific legal advice on this, which I can give with reference to the strata plan and a clearer understanding of the property. Photos would be a good idea.

     

    Amanda.

     

     

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