Question: Our hardwood floors have suffered major water damage due to common property defects. Should the Body corporate reimburse out of pocket expenses for accommodation and food while we vacate the property for repairs?
Answer: The accommodation should be recoverable, but it is unlikely that the costs of food etc would be reimbursed.
If the water ingress can be construed as a failure on the part of the owners corporation to properly repair and maintain the common property, then under Section 106(5) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (NSW):
(5) An owner of a lot in a strata scheme may recover from the owners corporation, as damages for breach of statutory duty, any reasonably foreseeable loss suffered by the owner as a result of a contravention of this section by the owners corporation.
If the above clause is applicable, in our view, the accommodation should be recoverable, but it is unlikely that the costs of feeding etc would be, given that you must feed your family wherever you live ie the requirement to feed your family has not arisen because of any breach of the owners corporation. Bearing in mind too, that you must mitigate your losses, so rather than stay at eg a 5-star hotel and eat room service every night, we recommend you find a serviced apartment of similar quality in the vicinity of your existing apartment.
Please note that this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.