Water Leakage From The Ceiling – A Condo Owner’s Nightmare
In recent years, a very common dispute faced by Singapore’s condominium flat owners is in relation to water leakage from one’s ceiling or inter-floor leaks, due to uncooperative and aggrieved neighbours.
These water leakage problems have plagued homes with stress, discomfort and inconvenience, on top of high tension between neighbours.
Whilst the issue of whom holds the responsibility of maintaining and repairing water leakages is clearer and more easily resolved for those residing in HDB flats, the same cannot be said for those residing in private non-landed estates, such as condominiums.
Who Should Bear Maintenance And Repair Costs?
So if you are residing in a condominium in Singapore, and suffering from water leakage from your ceiling – What can one do? Who should bear the responsibility of maintenance and repairs?
Under the purview of the Ministry of National Development (MND) and administered by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the law that governs private non-landed estates is the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, (Cap. 30C).
At the same time, the Strata Titles Board (STB) is provided for in the Act.
Under the S101(8) of the Act, the flat owner of the immediate unit on the upper floor bears the presumption for the water leakage, unless one can prove the contrary.
Thus, if there is an inter-floor leak, both parties, i.e. the flat owners from the immediate units of both upper and lower floors, are required to jointly carry out an investigation to determine the cause of the leak and proceed with repair works, inclusive of resolving the cost of repairs.
Otherwise, the flat owner of the immediate unit on the upper floor cannot claim that the leak did not originate from his unit or the defect is not within his unit.
In addition to jointly carrying out investigation of the defect to determine the cause of the water leakage, both parties ought to inform and involve the condominium’s Management Corporation in resolving the matter amicably.
What Should You Do If The Matter Cannot Be Resolved Amicably?
For those in such predicament, one may make an application to the STB, which is a tribunal made up of a panel of impartial members who are lawyers and experts in the building industry.
The STB has the powers to mediate between parties, hear the matter, and make decisions that are final and enforceable in the State Courts. For applications to the STB, there is a fee of $500 which includes 2 mediation sessions.
For more information, please read the “Strata Living in Singapore” guide by BCA, and contact us at our firm for a consultation on your case.
Our lawyers at our firm are also experienced in handling other common disputes such as disputes between common properties or common landlord-tenant disputes.
So do not hesitate to contact us.
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