Ironically for an area where health and safety laws are observed more in the breach than otherwise, the laws for owners corporations to repair and maintain common property are very strict.
The owners corporation must repair and maintain common property are the simple words used to impose this liability. The courts have consistently interpreted these words to mean what they say – just do it – not when you get around to it – not when you can afford it – not when you are planning to do a major renovation – just do it and do it now!
Court judgements have been scathing when owners corporations have dilly dallied around looking for excuses or someone else to blame or take responsibility.
In these cases the courts have said do the repairs straight away as you are obliged to and if you want to pin the costs on someone else later, then by all means that it your right but it is no excuse for inactivity.
A sense of urgency is easily lost in a body that meets infrequently and then only for a short time. An owners corporation committee that meets only four times a year might have only a working life of 10 or so hours a year. Making the most of that time and getting down to the very few things that absolutely have to be done is very important and seldom achieved. Repairs and maintenance of common property should be right at the top of the list, partly because of health and safety issues and partly because it is what we are by law required to do.