Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Strata Hot Water System | Who is responsible?

Strata Hot Water System, Who is responsible

Casey’s question relates to who is responsible for a Strata Hot Water System

I’m looking to change the strata hot water system.

The new hot water system needs three phase power, and the apartment supply currently has two phase. Building has three phase.
Electrician says that since the meter boards are next to and connected to my apartment wall, we only need to ask the electricity supplier to change the meter to three phase, and since the meter has nothing to do with strata since it is owned by Energy Australia, this can be done without the need to apply for strata approval. Is my electrician correct in saying that? Can I get the energy supplier to change the meter without strata approval?
At the same time, can I pay for the super old fuses, to be brought up to scratch? Can’t seem to get a straight answer on this one.

Hi Casey,

Strata Hot Water System

If you live in a strata block of units and your hot water is supplied from a gas or electric hot water system that is located in a common area of the building and also supplies other units, this is known as a ‘common hot water system’. It is the responsibility of the owners corporation to repair and maintain the hot water system.

In your circumstance it appears that the hot water unit is exclusive to your lot. In this case, the lot owner is responsible for the hot water unit that is exclusive to their lot whether the unit is within their lot or outside the lot. This includes all the associated wiring.

Source: Fair Trading Common Property Memorandum

Carrying out work on common property – Installing a strata hot water system

  • An owner of a lot must not carry out work on common property without the authorisation to do so. (Section 111)
  • The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 outlines the procedure to make changes to common property (Section 108)

So before installing the three-phase power you must seek permission and approval of the owners corporation in the appropriate manner. Some buildings take a casual approach to this sort of work so an email to the chairperson and the strata manager could sort this out very quickly. This work could then include the new fuses. Note that you are responsible for any damage to common property.

Read related: A Guide to Common Property

Getting approval from the owners corporation to install a strata hot water system

First, talk about it with the owners corporation and mutually agree on a way forward. Your strata manager or chairperson is the appropriate person to speak with. There might be a past precedent and all you need to do is provide the appropriate information, contractor details along with their insurance and licence particulars. Don’t trust a ‘tradie’ to give you strata advice.

If these negotiations stall or you can’t agree you should consider free mediation from Fair Trading.

Read related: Common Property works lands in the Supreme Court

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