Legal/financial responsibility with replacing a joint awning

My queensland investment property is a townhouse in a complex of eight. The design of the properties is as such that my front door is directly next to my neighbour's front door. Both our front doors are covered by the same single awning. My property manager recently reported that in storm conditions there have been problems with water getting into my property and that I should consider replacing the awning with a bigger one. The property is only approximately 18 months old. Its not a case of the awning being damaged or anything, its just that when it rains hard it doesn't provide enough cover to stop the rain getting into my front door.

So far, I have written to the body corporate hoping that it might be covered under their expenses. But I suspect they will come back and say that it is an issue for myself and my neighbour to resolve.

I haven't had any direct contact with my neighbour yet, and the impetus for me writing this post is to get an appreciation of what my legal rights are in this situation. Just as a bit of background info - I know that when the property was first built, the neighbour in question was highly unsatisfied with various aspects of her own property not being to her satisfaction and writing various letters/emails to the developer, BSA, BC, etc to have them resolved. The long story short - the BSA deemed most of her complaints as irrelevant to them, and I would tend to agree. Without going into boring details, I am of the opinion that the neighbour is a bit of a neurotic whinger! I mention this in anticipation that she is going to either a) claim that I should go through the long-winded route of complaining to the BSA or b) just fund a replacement myself (given that she may perceive its not her problem). Im more pragmatic about these things. In my opinion, Its just a very ordinary awning that doesnt quite do the job and needs to be replaced. Simple. However, given it covers her property as well its my expectation that she meets half the cost after Ive gathered a reasonable number of quotes. Id rather get it sorted out asap than have to p^ss f^rt around with this neurotic individual.

ps her front door is set back slightly further away (its a little hard to explain) but the water issue may be slightly less of a problem for her.

What bare my options?

This is a body corporate issue.

As the awning is jointly owned (with the neighbour) you cannot alter it in any way without BC permission.

As the awning is part of the outdoor (and therefore visible) part of the complex, it is probably important that all awnings look the same.

You will need BC permission to do any alterations.

It may be best for you to attend the next body corporate meeting so that you can ensure your problems are treated seriously.

As an update to my original post:

I sent an email to maintenance as well as the body corporate committee.

I had two conflicting email replies arriving in my inbox on the same day:

The Maintenance assistant stated "if there is already an awning in place that is not covering it from weather causing deterioration to the building this is a body corporate responsibility to fix".

The official body corporate response stated that it "does not consider this to issue to be within the scope of responsibility; however you are welcome to table it as a motion to be voted on at the next AGM. Alternatively, we provide permission for you to obtain information on a suitable replacement awning for review by the BC committee. Awning is to be professionally installed and blend in with the existing property colour scheme. Upon receipt of said information (product specifications), the BC will make a decision and advise within a reasonable timeframe".

In the official letter of response from the BC committee, they confirmed receipt of both forms of correspondence from me (mentioned above), stating in one sentence that one of my emails was "worded slightly differently". WTF? :mad: The only difference in wording is that in the email to maintenance I mentioned that "the tenants reported a history of the awning not providing enough protection from the weather", whereas in the email to the BC I used the phrase "property manager reports".

The reason why I mention this is because at face value it appears that the BC response seems to be implying that the different wording in my emails is an indication that Im not telling the truth?!?!? Or its not really a problem?? In reality, the tenants reported this to the property manager who then reported to me, and a brief recommendation was made in the subsequent inspection report.

OK, so what are my legal rights here and what should be my next move. As far as Im aware rain hasn't caused significant damage to my property....yet. But it will p^ss off my tenants and presumably cause damage to the door over x period of time. Rainfall and storms in this particular part of Brisbane are an issue and I just want it sorted out without all the BC bullsh^t. Are the BC essentially providing a justifiably reactionary response by seemingly implying that they wont do anything until it actually causes significant damage? Are they able to use this logic? Surely a reasonable person would consider this a maintenance issue that needs to dealt with by the BC in a proactive way ? :mad:

I had stated in my original letter/request that I wanted clarification as to whether this was a body corporate responsibility or something that I needed permission for in order to fund and install myself. I'll admit that this is the first time Ive had to deal with a BC, so I am learning as I go, and it would appear at face value that my mere mentioning of an alterantive involving self-funding the solution has stimulated a prejudicial response. :mad:

Also keep in mind that I have recently emailed the neighbour next door (also covered by the same awning) who has stated that this is not an issue for her because her door is set back significantly (possibly a fair comment). Therefore it would appear that my unit is the only one in the complex that is effected.

You own the interior paint job and everything within it.

You actually aren't allowed to make changes to any exterior items without BC permission.

This is a body corporate job unless your awning was installed by the owner of your unit as a one off. ie only you have it.

But if it is part of the original build or something the BC bought then it is all theirs - in fact their insurance might cover it.

I bought the property new and I am the first owner. The awning is part of the original property specs as completed by the developer.

The issue is not that the BC wont give me permission. The issue is that they are denying that it is a BC maintenance issue (and hence they arrange and pay for it) but that it is an issue I can sorted out and pay for myself (obviously pending their permission once they have looked at the quotes that I provide and as long as it is consistent with the look of the building/complex).

Essentially, I am saying that they should pay for it and they are saying I should. Thats the issue
They are responsible for external maintenance. That's what you pay BC fees for.

I imagine that you need to be speaking to your local Dept of Fair Trading.
Tell them you will be putting a fluoro orange awning with purple trim on and also putting matching awnings on all your windows :D.

Simon (and all the others) have hit the nail on the head. It is a body corporate issue and if it was on the building when it was built, it should be maintained by them.

I would get quotes, and submit them to the next BC meeting for approval with the added note that Fair Trading (or whatever it is called in your state) has confirmed that it is a BC issue (give them a call first, of course).

I only ever once owned a unit, and swore NEVER AGAIN to have to answer to a body corporate.