IO’s duty to repair

In 顏小明v 多福大厦業主立案法團 ([2012] HKEC 1202, LT) the applicant owned a flat in Tsim Sha Tsui. Water was leaking from the roof into the flat causing damage to it. This was due to a failure to keep the water tanks on the roof, the water proof roof membrane and the external walls in repair. This was the responsibility of the IO under section 18 of the Building Management Ordinance. This repairing obligation is one of proper management and requires the incorporated owners to do all that is reasonably required in the circumstances ([48]). In this case the incorporated owners had to take adequate steps to discover the cause of the water leakage and the steps needed to deal with it ([54]). Although they had taken some steps, they had not done enough to properly perform this duty ([55]). Although dealing with the problem involved some work that was the flat owner’s responsibility, there was no point in carrying this work out until the incorporated owners had dealt with the problems affecting the common parts. Nor did the appointment of a manager absolve the incorporated owners from their duties under section 18 of the Building Management Ordinance since the manager would be the agent of the incorporated owners. The incorporated owners were ordered to carry out the necessary repair works to the common parts and to pay damages to reflect the cost of repairing the flat and the loss of rental income.

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