The applicant is the owner of a unit in Units Plan 10. In August 2014, the property manager of the applicant notified the respondent of a leak outside the kitchen of the applicant’s unit. The respondent then engaged plumbers to investigate the problem to remedy it and it appears that the problem on the common property was rectified by September 2014. This problem also caused significant internal water damage to the applicant’s unit which resulted in the tenant moving out in September 2014. In October 2014, the respondent attempted to obtain a quote from a builder to fix the internal damage and to lodge an insurance claim. The builder provided quote in December 2014, and the insurer agreed to proceed with the quote in February 2015. The unit was fixed and relet in March 2015. The internal damage and loss of rent are covered by the insurance taken out by the respondent, but the insurer denied liability for the loss of rent claim.
The applicant claimed against the respondent loss of rent for about $7,800 arguing that this loss was caused by delay by the respondent in making a claim on its insurance policy, and then repairing the damage to his unit.
Unfortunately while the applicant did not set out any clear legal basis for the claim, the Tribunal stated that a claim in negligence could be made, but there was no evidence that any duty of care has been breached by the owners corporation.
It was true that there was a period of about seven months from the damage to the unit (August 2014) to its repair (March 2015) and the strata manager did appear to have taken some time to make the insurance claim. However, the Tribunal pointed out that a number of other people also contributed to the time taken to repair the unit, including the applicant and the property manager, the builder and the insurer. Therefore, given the lack of evidence that addressed the requirements of liability in negligence, it was not possible for the Tribunal to consider or uphold a claim on this basis.
In light of the above, and in the absence of a legal basis for the claim and relevant evidence in support of it, the Tribunal did not think it could or should order payment of the claimed amount by the respondent to the applicant.