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Is your strata property maintenance up to scratch?

What is property maintenance?

In a strata scheme, property maintenance generally refers to the proper upkeep and repair of the shared and common areas within the building including stairwells, driveways and parking, fences, gardens and pools, facilities, equipment such as lifts, and general common areas. It also relates to safety and security requirements. In almost all strata schemes, the body corporate is responsible for property maintenance. 

Who pays for property maintenance?

Unless damage is caused by a weather event like a storm or a specific person, accidentally or intentionally, general property maintenance is managed by the body corporate, and paid for out of the strata administration fund.

If property is maliciously or even unintentionally damaged however, it may be covered under the residential strata insurance.

A well-tailored residential strata insurance policy may even cover repairs when a motor (e.g. a lift drive or a pump) burns out. This can be selected as an optional extra in an insurance policy.

Large capital works, which often include major repairs or maintenance needs, can be paid for out of a body corporate’s capital works or sinking fund, if they have one, or from a special levy charged to owners.

What does property maintenance include?

Property maintenance is pretty broad and is often a lot more than simply cleaning the gutters, patching up paintwork and keeping the gardens tidy. Maintenance and repair covers three broad categories

  • Aesthetics, such as keeping the place looking good, ensuring scratches and dents are repaired, weeding gardens, mowing lawns, and keeping common areas clean, tidy and attractive.
  • Safety, which involves things such as regular checks on fire alarms, smoke detectors and security systems, ensuring fire exits are clear, fixing trip or slip hazards, making sure handrails and balustrades are safe and secure, inspecting lifts and other machinery, clearing bushfire risk vegetation etc.
  • Structural, including watching for and repairing damp, leaks, mould, rot, termite damage etc, as well as keeping on top of plumbing, gas and electrical wiring issues and the like.

Types of property maintenance that should be carried out

Good strata schemes, especially new ones, will have a written maintenance plan – in some states these are even required by law. They provide an outline of what maintenance should be done and when, and often provide predicted timeframes for equipment to be replaced or items updated so that they don’t become expensive repairs down the track. Following a well-drafted maintenance schedule and keeping works records may also help when applying for residential strata insurance.

But even if your strata scheme doesn’t have a maintenance schedule, it’s fairly easy to work out what might need regular or periodic maintenance around your strata property. Even if something appears to be in good condition, it’s worth a close inspection – by the strata committee, the building manager or a licenced professional.

The following is a guide to the most common items to be checked as part of a standard maintenance schedule. Strata management firms should be able to provide an even more extensive and detailed list.

The building exterior

  • Exterior paintwork, cladding, woodwork etc should be clean and in good condition. Check for damp, decay, rot or splitting.
  • Building structure, checking for concrete cancer, rising damp, salt damp, termites, wood rot, cladding flammability, wall-cavity leaks.
  • Door and windows, including seals, locks and structure.
  • Gutters and downpipes, especially look for leaks, dents or rust spots. Also have gutters cleared of leaves etc, especially in the lead up to summer.
  • Carpark access and doors, floors and storage units. Look for leaks, damp patches, damage and tampering. 

The building interior 

  • Interior paintwork, shelves, cupboards, cabinetry and skirting boards.
  • Floor coverings in common areas, especially look out for fraying carpets, damp spots, water damage, smoke damage.
  • Electrical wiring, communication cabling, and plumbing.
  • Common areas including lobbies, mailrooms and letterboxes.
  • Windows and doors shut/open properly, are not damaged and seal correctly.
  • Heaters and air conditioning units are cleaned regularly and function properly (also make sure they’re set to a suitable temperature to save on running costs).
  • Vermin traps, including making sure they’re secure and don’t pose a risk to pets.
  • Interior lighting. 


  • Gardens, including irrigation systems, timers and sprinklers.
  • Fire risk or vermin risk vegetation, e.g. dead shrubs or trees close to buildings.
  • Vermin traps are secure and don’t pose a risk to pets.
  • Driveways are clean and tidy, cracks repaired and oil-spills are made safe.
  • Fences and gates are secure, functional and in good repair.
  • Bins and waste chutes are vermin-proof and in working order.
  • Rainwater tanks are clean and operational, and stormwater pipes are clear of obstructions.

Safety and security

  • Fire alarms, smoke detectors and irrigation systems.
  • Fire hoses and extinguishers.
  • Emergency doors and lights.
  • CCTV and security surveillance systems.
  • Video door comms units.
  • Fire escapes – make sure these are always clear and accessible.
  • Dangerous materials, chemicals and flammable liquids are stored appropriately. 

Note that a number of the items need inspection by a licenced professional. 

What do building services include?

Building services is a really broad term that can refer to a variety of things. These can range from highly technical inspection, testing, auditing and certifying services that are often required for compliance records, or can simply refer to contracted services such as cleaning, gardening and property caretaking and maintenance.

If your strata property doesn’t have a strata manager, building manager or caretaker, then engaging a specialist property services or maintenance company can be a cost-effective way of keeping on top of your building maintenance needs.