When windows need to be replaced in sectional title schemes, the question still arises as to who bears the cost of the replacement but there shouldn’t be any confusion, says Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company, IHFM.
In the past if the window was on the outside of the median line it would be the body corporate’s responsibility and if it was on the inside of the median line, the owner had to pay for the replacement. But this rule will change to make things less complicated and the cost of replacing external windows or doors, if replaced like for like, is split 50/50, he said.
Bauer was asked recently whether, when replacing windows with wooden frames with aluminium ones, the owner has to pay for these or whether the body corporate covers the cost of the replacement.
The way it usually works, says Bauer, is that if the window must be replaced and it is replaced with the same material, i.e. wood with wood, the cost would then be split between the owner and the body corporate down the middle.
If the owner decides to replace the windows with a product that works out more expensive than the original, e.g. aluminium or UPVC, then the body corporate will pay what it originally would have paid and the extra amount is borne by the owner.
It is important to remember, however, that windows or doors cannot just be replaced with different materials without the consent of the trustees, said Bauer. If the colour of the frame, for instance, is different from the original, then it will probably not be approved as all replacements or improvements must fit in with the general appearance of the scheme.
Before any replacement is commissioned by the owner, he must get written approval from the trustees, even if he is paying for the improvements as the outside of the unit is common property, said Bauer.