How to minimise maintenance and repair costs of apartment living

The cost of maintaining an apartment and common areas can be high if your building maintenance requirements are not properly assessed. However, with careful planning and preventative measures, your ongoing costs can be considerably reduced

Here 4 key areas that can help minimise maintenance and repair costs of apartment living:

  1. Identify who is responsible for what
  2. Take proactive maintenance measures
  3. Identify defects early on if it’s a new build
  4. Know your rights to protect your property

1. Identify who is responsible for what

Before you make any fixes to your property, find out who is responsible for the upkeep of what areas.

Typically, the committee will be responsible for maintaining all common areas in your property such as pools, gardens, hallways, gym and so on. As you’re already contributing towards the cost of their upkeep through your fees or levies, you may not have to pay from your own pockets to make repairs or maintain them.

Instead, if there is something in your building that you feel could be improved, or if you see something that needs to be repaired or cleaned, let your strata manager know so they can organise the necessary quotes and approvals.

Take proactive maintenance measures

For the things within your apartment that you’re responsible for, such as your appliances, flooring and electrics, schedule regular checks and keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. If you address any issues early on, rather than waiting until something breaks down, it will save you money in the long run.

Things such as plumbing and electrics should be left to qualified technicians, but there’s no reason you can’t do the more basic jobs yourself, such as giving a room a fresh coat of paint or landscaping in your courtyard. Again, this will save you money, and by keeping your property in an excellent state of repair, you will also ensure that it holds its value if you ever decide to sell.

One thing that puts potential buyers off buying an apartment more than anything is the idea that they will have to do a lot of work in the place before it is liveable, so it pays to keep on top of things when it comes to maintenance and repairs.

Identify defects early on if it’s a new build

When purchasing off the plan or in a newly completed development, be mindful that new build apartment blocks may have defects that can be costly to fix. A recent report called ‘Building Confidence’ by Shergold and Weir has interesting facts to share about building defects in modern high rise residential apartments.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of high-rise apartment buildings have almost tripled in the less than a decade. Since many of these apartments are sold off the plan to fund the development, buyers have no way to know the details of the construction – what building materials are being used, and whether they are compliant with Australian Building Code standards or not. So they tend to be unaware of any defects that may be present until they have already bought the apartment and end up footing the bill to rectify the issues.

For more information on apartment living check out these need to knows before buying off the plan.

Know your rights to protect your property

The New South Wales government provides some preventive measures to protect the interests of building owners. As per the 2% bond scheme, developers set aside 2% of the overall building project costs before the construction begins, to cover any defects that may be revealed in inspection reports afterwards. The law calls for independent inspectors appointed by developers to conduct inspections and provide two reports – an interim report and a final report within two years of building construction.

Make sure to keep an eye out for defects, and inform your committee and strata manager to utilise the bond cover to repair these defects.

There is also a warranty cover period that during which property owners can submit claims with the developer and builder. If the claims and complaints are not addressed, you can take the help of NSW Fair Trading to resolve these issues. Read this article to know how you can cover unexpected costs from building defects.

These are some of the best ways to minimise maintenance and repair costs of your apartment in the long term.

If you’d like to find out more on strata repairs and maintenance, click here to download your free Community Living guide on building compliance. Or click here for a building condition report from our BFMS facilities management team (NSW only).