Owners Committee Duty of Care

Garbage odours in apartment buildings are unpleasant for both tenants and staff. They also create a negative perception of cleanliness and hygiene in the building. But that’s not the only reason why it is important to have a working germ and odour control system in your building. The Owners Committee (Body Corporate) have a duty of care to address the spread of airborne bacteria within common areas, such as the garbage chute/room.

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The below is extracted from ‘Body Corporate Liability’ – May 2009

 
“A body corporate is invested with a duty of care to lot owners, tenants and guests. That duty requires the Body Corporate to take steps reasonably required to minimise a foreseeable risk of injury caused by the common property.

Common property includes garbage chutes and waste disposal areas of the building.

Garbage chutes and waste disposal areas are literally a dumping ground for decomposing matter and therefore a haven for harmful bacteria and germs, some of which are or may become airborne.

It is not fanciful and therefore foreseeable that the same garbage chute used to carry the waste can also transport the airborne bacteria back to lot owners, tenants and guests causing illness, injury or disease.

A body corporate is required to respond reasonably to that risk. A reasonable response is to ensure that the building has an adequate waste management system including; regular waste removal, cleaning, and use of appropriate technology to reduce airborne germs.

Failure to provide an adequate system will make the Body Corporate legally liable for the illness, injury and disease and the compensation which follows to the persons affected.”

– Mark Frampton, Principal – Frampton Legal (May 2009)

A PDF copy of the above quoted document can be downloaded here.