Repairs and Maintenance in Strata

A guide to repairs and maintenance in Strata apartments

For repairs and maintenance in a strata scheme, as a general rule the owners corporation are responsible for common property and the owners must deal with anything within their lot. Owners corporations have a positive legal responsibility to keep common property in good order and repair. Individual owners have more discretion when it comes to their own space, but neglect can prove expensive if it results in damage to common property – for example, a leaking tap – as you will be required to compensate the owners corporation.

What is common property?

It is not always clear what is common property or what is the individual lot.

The basic rule is that everything inside the airspace of the unit, including all internal walls, is usually part of the lot and therefore the responsibility of the lot owner. Everything outside that airspace – including walls, windows, doors, and tiles fixed to the floor, boundary walls and balconies – is usually common property and therefore the responsibility of the owner’s corporation.

NSW Fair Trading has produced a standard template called a ‘common property memorandum’ that list exactly what is and is not considered common property, and who is responsible for repairs. However, it only applies where your scheme has passed a specific bylaw to use it.
For clarification on what is common property and what is part of your lot, refer to your strata plan and by-laws.

Who does what?

General rules of responsibility for repairs and maintenance in a strata scheme:

Ceiling – Owners corporation must repair anything in the ceiling, however, there may be circumstances where the owner is liable if they have made improvements to the ceiling such as changing light fittings or installing a fan.

Walls – Owners corporation must repair anything in the boundary walls. The owner must repair all walls within the lot.

Carpets – The owner must repair and maintain carpets in the lot. The owner’s corporation repairs and maintains common property carpets, such as in the hallways.

Light fittings – If it is recessed in the ceiling, it is the owner’s corporation’s responsibility. If it hangs into the lot, it is the owner’s responsibility.
Roller door or garage – Repairs to the boundary roller doors are owner’s corporation responsibility.

Balcony – Balconies are generally the responsibility of the owner’s corporation. The lot owner is responsible for routine cleaning and day-to-day maintenance as part of their exclusive entitlement to use the space but major repairs and refurbishments, such as waterproofing and replacing balustrades are a matter for the owners corporation.


If it relates to common property, contact your strata managers or the Secretary (or another member) of the Strata Committee and let them know the details of the problem. The Strata Committee will then organise the repair through the strata manager or building manager. If the problem is a minor repair, it might be able to be fixed without the need for a meeting.
For larger, more expensive, or complex repairs, a general meeting may be required to authorise expenditure or decide on what action to take.
If no action is being taken, you can put a motion requesting repairs to the next meeting.


The annual levy budget will include an estimate for repairs and maintenance for the year. Generally speaking, your contribution to the administrative fund will cover routine maintenance and minor repairs as part of the building’s ongoing expenses.

Major repairs and maintenance to common property may be planned and included in the scheme’s 10-year plan for the capital works fund. For unexpected major repairs, where there are insufficient funds set aside, a motion can be put to a general meeting to raise levies to cover the cost of the work. The amount to be paid by owners is based on their unit entitlement in the same way that normal levies are apportioned.

Accidental damage

The owner’s corporation must repair common property and an owner is responsible for their own lot – whether the damage was accidental or due to neglect. If someone else damages your property, then like any damages claim, you may take legal action to recover the cost of repairs. Normally, this will be dealt with through your strata insurance

Legal requirements

The obligation to maintain common property is spelt out in Section 106 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. There are limited exceptions and any decision not to maintain or repair any item must be approved via special resolution (i.e., no more than 25 per cent of owners can vote against the resolution).

Work on strata schemes is also covered by the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and the Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020. Depending on the nature of the works, additional approvals and certifications may be required from qualified practitioners including lodgement of plans with the NSW Government planning portal. The Department of Planning and Environment has provided this fact sheet.

Updated: 17 July 2023

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