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Complaints over property maintenance in Queensland strata communities have escalated during COVID-19 lockdowns, overtaking conflict over pets as the major bone of contention between residents and bodies corporate.
According to Archers the Strata Professional Partner Grant Mifsud, disputes over body corporate by-laws regarding animals had long been the dominant issue in strata communities, but there had been a change brought on by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The change is likely attributed to the impact on strata communities of the “stay home” directives implemented by the state government as a response to the coronavirus, he said.
“Maintenance disputes have this year become the single biggest issue for bodies corporate. The lockdown imposed during COVID-19 meant residents in strata communities, particularly during the first half of 2020 in Queensland, have spent a lot more time at home,” Mr Mifsud explained.
“People spending more time in their strata community has meant they may have been finding more maintenance issues around their own property, or with the complex itself.
“This could be the need for repairs to intermittent leaks they are now noticing or getting cosmetic painting and garden maintenance to a higher standard, something they are observing more with the extra time at home.”
According to him, the general position in strata buildings is that owners are responsible for maintaining the area within the boundary of their own lots, and the body corporate is responsible for maintaining the common areas shared by all residents and the structural elements.
However, there are a number of exceptions to the general position and it is these exceptions that lead to disputes.
“These disputes end up with the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management for resolution when the problem cannot be resolved between residents,” he said.