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Where’s that water coming from?


28 May 2021

It is very common in any Owners Corporation or Body Corporate, for an Owners Corporation Manager to receive a call complaining about water leaking from one apartment into the apartment below.

And while we are more than happy to facilitate correspondence between parties involved, it’s not something the owners’ corporation or your manager should be involved with. 
 
Section 16 the Water Act 1989 clearly applies to Owners Corporations and specifically states that an owner cannot unreasonably allow water to flow from their lot onto someone else’s lot, and if they do, they are liable for damages.
 
From our experience, the most common issue almost always relates to balconies and the leakage of water from a balcony to the one below. An owner whose balcony leaks into the apartment below is responsible for the damage caused to the affected below apartment.
 
VCAT have also been consistent in their decision making, that the owner who benefits from the balcony is responsible to repair and maintain the water proof membrane of the balcony, regardless of where the horizontal boundary is located, be that ceiling, median or floor level.
 
Another common problem relating to water leakage involves the failure to correctly connect the washing machine.
 
All such water leakage issues are solely a matter between owners and does not involve the Owners Corporation or the Owners Corporation Manager, even if the water flows from the lot across or through common property and then into the lot/s below.
 
Below is an extract Section 16 of the Water Act.
 
16 Liability arising out of flow of water etc.
(1) If—
(a) there is a flow of water from the land of a person onto any other land;
and
(b) that flow is not reasonable; and
(c) the water causes—
(i) injury to any other person; or
(ii) damage to the property of any other person; or
(iii) any other person to suffer economic loss—
the lot who caused the flow is liable to pay damages to that other person in
respect of that injury, damage or loss.