My Rooftop your Balcony who foots the bill if it leaks?

Balconies are one of life’s little luxuries. Especially if you’re living in the middle of the city, they’re a delightful place to hang out – great for a BBQ, a few beers or just to relax and enjoy the sun. But problems can arise, for example, if a balcony’s waterproofing membrane is damaged or deteriorates, causing water seepage into the room or dwelling below.   The question is who pays?

If you live in an apartment complex run by a body corporate, the waterproofing is not installed for the benefit of the owner with the balcony. It is installed to protect the property underneath. Often the problems caused by water ingress issues from a balcony are through no fault of either owner.  It is however, often a result of poor design or workmanship by the developer or building contractor trying to reduce costs at the time of construction, rather than any neglect on the part of the owner or end buyer.

Faulty waterproofing can cause the timber within the walls holding the balcony up and balcony floor to rot and encourage mould to rapidly grow.  Dampness in the walls can ruin finishes like ceilings and carpets, plaster and paint leaving water marks and then there’s the smell.

Fixing the problem often includes lifting all the tiles on the balcony floor and walls if there is a boarder tile (many of which will break in the process so there is no reusing them), removing the old waterproofing and installing a new one that’s fit for purpose.  Then reinstalling new tiles, grout and caulking. Or you can install a product like Glass Deck, a heavy duty trafficable waterproofing membrane system that can be installed over the tiles.

But all of that costs big money. The question is who pays?

The answer ought to be simple and fair if it’s my rooftop and your balcony the cost should be evenly shared right. “most people would think that’s the most logical solution and fair to all parties involved” – NO in Melbourne Victoria it’s the sole responsibility of the “owner “of the balcony to make good on the repairs, and good luck trying to claim it on insurance as it may not be covered….

You can find out more about that by reading my post Insurance & Waterproofing