Fixing damp

Question:
I own a sectional title unit and I'm having problems with damp in the majority of the walls. I can only deduce that this is because of ground moisture seepage.

Am I liable for the cost of repair?

Answer:
As an owner in a sectional title scheme you are responsible to maintain and repair your section in a state of good repair. This includes the responsibility to fix damp inside your section.

You own your section to the median line (midpoint) of its dividing floors, walls and ceilings and therefore you are responsible to repair and maintain everything inside its boundaries. So strictly speaking you are responsible to repair the damp on the walls inside your section.

However, the body corporate is responsible for maintaining and repairing the common property and if your suspicion is correct (that the damp is entering your section through the ground) then your damp problems may be a direct result of the body corporate's failure to adequately waterproof the common property (being the ground below your floor and the parts of the walls and floor outside/below the median lines) and you may have a claim against the body corporate to recover the costs you spend on repairing the damp.

It also would not make sense to repair the damp in your section before the body corporate has adequately waterproofed the defective common property as the root of the problem would not have been fixed.

I would advise that you employ the services of a waterproofing expert at your own cost to ascertain and report on the actual cause of the damp. Get this contractor to give you his findings in writing. If he finds that the source of the damp is from the common property then use his report as evidence and request that the trustees attend to the problem. If the trustees fail to do so you will then have to take a more aggressive approach and perhaps draft, or employ the services of an attorney to draft, a letter of demand. If this still does not prove to be effective, your recourse is to declare a dispute with the body corporate and, if it is not resolved within 14 days, to refer the matter to arbitration for resolution.

If, on the other hand, the waterproofing expert finds that the damp is a result of a defect in your section you will be responsible to repair the problem yourself without recourse to the body corporate.

Article by: www.paddocks.co.za