By The Paddocks Club Team

Below is an example of a question on the discussion forum on Paddocks Club. We want to show what is available to our Community Members!

Light outside section, switch inside – who is responsible?

Member question:

Whose responsibility would it be to maintain and repair if the light is on the outside of the section but the switch is on the inside and does not work with the other communal lights?

Paddocks ClubGraham’s answer:
Because the actual light is outside the median line of the section, the body corporate must at its expense maintain and repair the light, including replacement if necessary UNLESS this light is within an exclusive use area, in which case the body corporate must recover the cost of any maintenance, repairs or replacement from the owner who holds the exclusive use rights.
Illegal alterations to common property

Member question:
A few years ago an owner asked the then trustees for permission to do alterations to his unit, which is an end unit. Permission was given to convert a bedroom into a bathroom. No plans were obtained. The owner proceeded to put sewerage pipes down the outside of the wall (common property) using unregistered plumbers who used the incorrect type of pipe. The pipes were then laid across a municipal electrical sub-station and then joined up with the municipal drains outside the complex property. The current trustees asked the owner to get permission from the municipality that the alteration was correct in terms of their rules. The owner has not done so and has now sold his unit but the trustees refuse to give him a clearance certificate until he has obtained permission. The owner has gone legal to force us to grant the clearance certificate by using Section 15(3) of the ST Act. Their claim is that this section only relates to “where all moneys due to the BC have been paid.” They claim that the alteration issue has nothing to do with the transfer but we as trustees are not convinced that the owner will rectify the issue.

Can we with hold the clearance certificate? Can prescription change any of the above?

Anton‘s answer:
This owner has not obtained the multiplicity’s approval of the sewerage connection, even though the trustees have asked him to do so. What would make that owner sort out this mess once the transfer of his unit has gone through?

The sewerage connection from the median line of the wall forming the boundary of that section to the boundary of the scheme is on the common property and therefore the responsibility of the body corporate. At the moment that responsibility means forcing the owner to complete the alteration properly. The body corporate is going to have to correct it at its own cost if the owner does not. The body corporate is definitely entitled to withhold the levy clearance certificate until it is satisfied that the alteration is properly completed.

Prescription does not apply.

Article reference: Paddocks Press: Volume 8, Issue 10, Page 5


Professor Graham Paddock, Jennifer Paddock and Anton Kelly are available to answer questions on the discussion forum for Community Members of Paddocks Club. Get all your questions answered by joining Paddocks Club at

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