Tenants and Body Corporates

tenants and body corporatesMy daughter has just inked her very first lease on her very first home away from home. Unfortunately for her, her new home is in a body corporate, a subject I know quite a lot about, and am moved to share at the slightest provocation.

I’m fairly confident she ignored ever word I said, but it is a subject of great interest to both investors, resident owners and tenants alike.

This article outlines a tenant’s rights and responsibilities in strata schemes, which luckily are actually very straightforward.

Lease agreements

Lease agreements are no different for strata schemes than for other forms of residential real estate.

A lease is a binding contract between the tenant and the lessor.

As part of the lease the lessor grants the tenant the right to occupy the lot, and in the case of strata schemes, some of the rights that come along with that lot.

Those rights will include use of the common property, stairways, parking, pools or whatever facilities a strata scheme has, in so far as those rights are invested in the lessor.

So if the lessor has exclusive use of a car space or storage area, so too will the tenant, assuming the right forms part of the lease agreement. If a lessor has no right to use of an area then neither will the tenant.

This is an important distinction because there are contractual relationships that exist here.

The tenant and the owner have a relationship.

The lot owner and the body corporate have a relationship.

The tenants and body corporates do not have a relationship, notwithstanding the tenant must obey the by-laws of the body corporate the same as every other resident or visitor.

By-Laws for tenants and body corporates

When you read through body corporate by-laws there are distinctions between rules that apply to residents and those that apply to lot owners.

A resident is someone who lives in a strata scheme.

A lot owner is someone who owns a lot in a strata scheme.

A lot owner may be a resident, but not all residents are lot owners. Some residents are, of course, tenants.

Some by-laws will apply only to lot owners (eg by-laws relating recovery of overdue levies) and others will apply to any resident of the scheme (eg by-laws relating to appearance of the lot) whilst still others will relate to everyone, be they resident, owner or visitor (eg rules regarding use of common property).

Everyone, be they committee, owner, tenant or visitor, must comply with the by-laws that apply to them.

Lessors are responsible for ensuring their tenants, and by extension their tenants visitors, comply with the by-laws.

Pets

Your lease will dictate whether or not the lot owner allows pets.tennants and pets

If the lot owner will allow a pet, that doesn’t automatically mean the body corporate will. Almost all body corporates’ have by-laws controlling pets.

For the most part that will be that the pet must be approved, with conditions, prior to being installed in the property. There will likely also be restrictions on size, noise and a host of other things.

If you wish to have a pet, you, or more likely your lot owner, will need to seek, and be granted, permission from the committee prior to proceeding.

It’s a bad idea to flaunt body corporate by-laws regarding pets. It’s very unlikely to be ignored, will create tension between you and the other residents and problems for your lessor.

Tenants Right of Enjoyment

Just as tenants must observe the by-laws so too must other residents, be they lot owners or other tenants.

Tenants have entered into a contract to lease the property, in return for paying rent, and as part of that agreement they can expect the right to quiet enjoyment of said property.

Sometimes though that doesn’t happen.

Tenants who have an issue should absolutely make a complaint. Initially all complaints should be dealt with by the simple premise of asking whomever to stop what they’re doing.

If that doesn’t work unfortunately it’s a bit of problem for the tenant.

The body corporate is a co-operative of lot owners, and, it’s only the lot owners who have a voice in what happens within the scheme, including policing of by-laws and resident behaviour.

The tenant doesn’t have a “voice” so they must rely on someone who does.

All complaints should be made to their lot owner, or, if applicable, the lot owner’s agent. It will then be up to the lot owner or agent to forward that complaint to the body corporate committee.

The reverse will happen as well: if another resident has a problem with a tenant they will make a complaint, usually directly to the tenant first, then if the behaviour persists, to the lot owner or agent who should then communicate the issue to the tenant.

A body corporate cannot evict a tenant; there is no contractual relationship there to end.

If problems with tenants are persistent the body corporate has no recourse other than to pressure the lot owner to bring the tenant into line under clauses within the lease agreement.

Tenants, common property and repairs

The same issues arise when problems come up relating to the repair or upkeep of the common property.

Anything within the lot is tenant, and by extension lessor responsibility. Anything outside of the lot is common property and body corporate responsibility.

Any damage to common property by the tenant will be charged to the lot owner who must then recover the costs from the tenant.

Sometimes problems occur in the lot which originate on common property, or even another lot. An example would be an overflowing washing machine in the lot above or a leaking pipe that originates on common property but leaks into the lot.

Addressing these sort of problems is, again, a matter between the lot owner and the body corporate.

The tenant should make a complaint directly to their lot owner and agent who forward the matter to the committee or body corporate manager.

New buildings

Cosmetic building defects must be reported within the first six months to be rectified under building warranties.

If you’re the first resident of a brand new lot report all building defects to the builder, or if you’re a tenant, your lessor, as quickly as possible or you may risk losing your window of opportunity.

Structural defects should also be reported, but you have longer time frames to rectify these issues under warranty.

Conclusion

Tenants must obey the by-laws intended to enforce the peace and quiet enjoyment for all lots within the scheme, including theirs.

Pretty much, that’s the extent of their involvement in the body corporate. In all other matters they must deal directly with their lessor.

photo credit 1: Editor B via photopin cc photo credit 2: Sergiu Bacioiu via photopin cc

THE BASICS OF BODY CORPORATES

A little knowledge can go a long way


I see so many stressful and frustrating issues in body corporate records that result from simple misunderstandings it hurts my head. If I could do one thing to help it would be to teach everyone the basic rules, so they can avoid all these dramas.


With that in mind I've put together a short eBook that sets out the basics everyone owning in a body corporate really should know. It won't make those big issues go away, but it will give you a firm grounding from which to communicate.


It's completely free, so please, download it now!

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Comments

  1. Karen McPherson says:

    If tennants are required to park their vehicles on the roadside because of work being undertaken in the complex in which they live do they have any redress is their vehicle is damaged?

    • Hi Karen

      I really couldn’t say to tell the truth. It’s a bit of a grey area. If there was damage done it would be on a case by case basis but I would think that whomever caused the damage would be responsible, not the body corporate.

      • Jonathon puru says:

        Hi so what if the damage was done by the lawnmower person lets say he was mowing the lawn a stone flicked up and smashed a window on my car and was not reported whos liable for the damages

        • Hi Jonathon

          I’d suggest this is an action in tort … meaning that the person who did the damage is the one responsible. You could try arguing the body corporate is responsible as the ’employer’ but I don’t know how successful you’d be. Presumably the person was a contractor and is responsible for their own negligence.

  2. What can a tenant do if being bullied and threatened by a Chairman. The tenant was told that he had no rights which of course is not correct.

    • Hi Helen
      Well that sounds awful. You’re right of course,the tenant does have rights. Not voting rights, but the right to enjoy the premises. After all they’re paying for it. I would talk with your lot owner / rental agent to let them know this is going on. And maybe the tenants tribunal for advice there as well. The problem is the chairman may be being awful, but they’re not necessarily breaching any body corporate rules.

      Firstly if tenant is breaking any by-laws stop immediately.From there document every interaction in a diary format. The way to deal with it in the body corporate world is to make a formal complaint to the committee, and then if nothing happens to the Adjudicator. Given that he’s the chairman you’re unlikely to get any help from the committee but still take the first step. It may also embarrass the chairman enough to back off, although be warned it may also have the opposite affect. To make an application to the commissioner to get him to back off you will need to have made some attempts to resolve the conflict. The problem with an application is that a rule needs to be broken for the Adjudicator to make an order. Bullying is crap behaviour but not necessarily covered by the jurisdiction of the commissioner.

      In all instances if your tenant feels physically threatened or the behaviour crosses a line call the police. Its such a difficult and unfair situation. Keep doing what you’re doing, making contact with others, taking action is a slow and steady reiteration “I will not be bullied”.

  3. Hi Helen, I need some advice what can I do if a tenant who rents next door keeps taking photos of family cars as they drop off young children at my door, he sends them to the body corporate and says we park there all the time which we do not do we then receive a letter from body corporate making up stories.

    • Hi Lynette

      There’s a couple of things you could do here. If you feel that the tenant is being malicious keep a log of the dates and times that people are being dropped off. It’s hard to argue with photographic evidence but if you can come back and say on such and such a date this person dropped off and was there for two minutes that will go a way toward mitigating the evidence.

      It’s also a good idea to discuss the matter, calmly if you can, with the tenant involved and ask them what solution they would like. Maybe its something that you could adopt, which will keep them happy so they stop them bothering you. If that doesn’t work discuss the matter with the body corporate, again looking for alternative solutions. It displays that you’re prepared to work with others and will go a some way to taking the focus off you.

    • Meredith Taylor says:

      What if the body corporate is discriminating against your son 5 years of age who has autism spectrum disorder you are not a tenant and the lot is owned by your family for which you are a brneficiary? Can I sue under the Anti-Discrimination Act?
      Bullying you to try to make your life difficult and attempt to evict you for which they have no powers to do so.

      • Hi Meredith

        That sounds awful. I feel for you. I had similar a similar experience with a bully when I lived in a unit. The body corporate manager ignored my requests for help and the onsite people sided with the bully.

        You’re correct the body corporate has no right to evict you. If there are specific examples of things that people are doing to make your life difficult, and those things breach the by-laws, then your body corporate may be able to help. If it is your body corporate bullying you then you need to discuss specific instances to know what can or can’t be done. Its difficult when it’s an ongoing culture of nastiness rather than specific event.

        The Anti-discrimination act has nothing to do with body corporate legislation. If you can make your case then go for it.

  4. Is a tenant allowed to speak directly to a representative of the body corporate regarding a property improvement plan? I’ve been asking my real estate agent about the schedule of the plan and who is responsible for the cost etc. for three months now, but she keeps ignoring me. I’m frustrated and very tempted to just contact the body corporate directly to get more information. Do I still need to go through my agent or is it ok for a tenant to speak to the body corporate?

    • Hi Amy

      You could always ask and, depending on your body corporate manager, they may reply. There is no requirement for them to do so though. In fact there’s not even a requirement for them to reply to your owner / owners agent unless they are on the committee.

      Body corporate managers have specific guidelines in how they disseminate information and tenants won’t be on the list unless the matter directly affects them. In that case I would expect a flyer notifying residents when works are about to start. By all means have a go at contacting them though: the worst that can happen is they say go away.

      If you are in any way responsible for costs, which I think incredibly unlikely, they would discuss it with you. It’s more likely to be that there simply isn’t any information about what’s happening yet. Body corporates can move glacially slow at times.

  5. barry broome says:

    Hi Lisa

    I recently arrived at my complex car park and the remote would not open the electronic gate.
    First thought was flat battery.Then another resident turned up, and their remote would not work.

    I asked the other person to contact the body corporate for assistance.I then used my key to get into the building and tried to open the gate from the inside.

    The control button I hit was the fire door which came down. Oops!

    The short of it, is i have received an invoice from BC for the cost of the call out to re-set the roller door because it was on CCTV

    The electronic gate,which was the original problem was not fixed completely until 48hrs later

    Where do I stand? My actions where not intentional
    Kind regards Barry

    • Hi Barry

      Ah, what an unfortunate situation. Its kind of like accidents on the roads. We don’t intentionally hit another person’s car, but, if we do, we are responsible. Its the same here. I don’t doubt you didn’t mean to bring down the roller door but unfortunately you did.

      The general “rule of thumb” in body corporates is if it’s broken don’t try and do anything, report it and the committee/manager will handle it. Its a concept that could be formalised in the schemes by-laws, you’d need to check. As buildings get bigger they get more complex and it becomes easier to have an unintended consequence to an action, as you’ve just discovered.

      The real question here is how much the broken gate, and attempts to rectify the situation, mitigates your responsibility. That’s a question for the courts I’m afraid, should you choose to dispute the charge through legal action.

      Depending on how you feel about things I would write to the committee and suggest paying 50/50, or similar, citing the broken gate and that you were simply trying to help. Maybe they’ll come to the party and this will be a way to settle the matter quickly and with as little pain as possible.

  6. Body corporate are carrying out repairs on all car parks
    They have left a notice on the door saying we can not use our car parks for over 3 weeks
    Do body corporate have to supply local Carpark permits during this time for all tenants ?

    • Hi Shannon

      The body corporate is the joint lot owners and they have no contract with the tenant. Your contract is with the lot owner so you should bring it to their attention and ask them to reimburse you for your inconvenience.

      The lot owner has no more leverage than you do. They cannot object to the scheme undertaking the works due to inconvenience since statutorily the body corporate is required to provide a safe and working environment, meaning if you object to missing out on your car parks through the tenancy tribunal I’m not altogether sure they would penalise the owner.

      Your best bet will be to try and negotiate something with the owner.

  7. Hello, there are renovations going on on the first floor, just wonder are there any rules of how early can they start to make a noise, and how late they are allowed to disturb thw tenants? Also what about Sundays? Regards

    • Hi Angela

      Those sort of rules will be contained within the schemes by-laws and possibly the approval for the renovation. There should definitely be times when they can and can’t work … usually business hours, but it differs from scheme to scheme. Not Sunday at all I would think, but again you’ll need to check with the scheme manager. Some schemes are better organised than others.

      Your best bet is to write a letter of complaint to your rental agent or owner and have them contact the body corporate on your behalf. Good luck.

  8. Hi there, we are owners of an apartment, and a renter living below us has complained about cigarette smoke from our balcony. He has previously argued/ swore many times at us and neighbours who were smoking, even getting out a hose pipe to spray the next door neighbour whilst he was smoking in his unit. Anytime he smells smoke (even burnt toast) he will come out and yell to put that cigarette out. To help the situation my partner has left the apartment to smoke with only a very occasional cigarette on the balcony. (Only to have him yelling again)what are his and our rights regarding this? Thanks

    • Hi Patricia

      Smoking on the balcony will be covered by the schemes by-laws, although, that said it is quite rare to see a by-law precluding smoking on balconies since, technically, the balcony is part of the lot. A body corporate cannot stop an owner from smoking within their own lot – its your property, you may do what you like – but there are restrictions on annoying the other residents.

      To me your neighbour is acting inconsiderately and disturbing you peace. Carrying on every time you have a cigarette borders on abusive and I would bring it up with your body corporate.

  9. Hi there ,
    We have been told recently that by putting a cubby house in our back garden for our two year old that we are in breech of a by law that says ‘we need written permission if any changes are made to the lot unless minor and not detracting from amenities around it’.
    The cubby house does not need council approval due to size etc and meets building ref requirements in that it doesn’t need special planning approval etc.
    One neighbour has complained and now it’s been voted that it needs to be demolished!
    I feel like it’s way over the top for a child’s playhouse! Surely we have a right to have this in our garden as we are paying the rent!!!!! The owner that complained had a track record of complaints against anything she possibly can !! We feel like we are being bullied into taking it down!

    We did ask for written permission and apoligised for not doing it to begin with as we weren’t aware – and they have still come back and said no!!

    • Hi Lesley

      If the owners have voted that it needs to be removed then that seems to be the answer to your request. It was not granted. Was a committee motion passed? Or a motion at a general meeting?

      Your only other option is to make an application to the Adjudicator that the body corporate is being unreasonable. You’d need to find the reasons for the lack of approval, and “they didn’t follow the correct procedure” isn’t a good enough reason, and then argue that its not a reasonable reason because of … (assuming their reason is unreasonable).

  10. Hi Lisa I am an owner in a small complex of 6villars we have on lot of renters who lately have become nasty it all started with us asking them not to park on the grassed are outside our residents as we have a lawn mowing contractor who is trying to get that area back to scratch they would not remove their cars so he would have to mow around them they got quite hostile towards us when we told them to please not park there he would also complain about the noise from the contractor just lately I asked if he could turn the base down from his stereo as the noise was unbareable thumping through our lounge room so yesterday my husband was talking with my daughter outside our front door and he came out in a rage and told them to keep the noise down it was worse than his music we asked him to turn down (just being a smart a…. Now he is parking his partners sons car in the visitors parking spot her son is not there or living there is there anything that can be done it is also blocking access for the elderly tenant to her back yard

    • Hi Vicki

      Oh dear. This is not good news as its difficult to deal with someone who is aggressive and abusive when they’re confronted about matters of sharing. How do you deal with someone who’s unreasonable?

      Firstly, personal protection is very important. Call the police if they yell and scream and get in your face. Keep track of every interaction you’ve gone through and their response. Video is a good option. Again however, be safe, and call for help if needed.

      The body corporate needs to issue a breach notice to the tenant with a copy to their owner. If they don’t comply the next step will be through the Commissioners Office for breach of by-law for parking on the grass. Go through the same process for the parking in visitor car parks – firstly ask him to stop (a letter is fine) and then if they do not then a breach notice and finally conciliation and adjudication.

      It sounds like the man is a bully. Its scary I know, standing up to bullies, but unfortunately your options are stand up to him or put up with it. Try and get the other owners to stand with you.

      My thoughts are with you as this can be a difficult and stressful process.

  11. ASHLEIGH MCGINN says:

    I am an owner-occupier. I have just received a letter from the company tasked with managing our body corporate matters (we have have 246 units in our CTS) telling me that they are not responsible for a disagreement between me and another unit, and advising mediation. I am not against mediation per se; but I do find it hard to enter mediation when this letter was the first I heard of a disagreement with the tenant ! I asked the tenant about it and he ignored me. I asked the onsite manager (and rental agent for the other unit) about it and she advised that she couldn’t tell me because the tenants rights had to be protected. The Body Corporate Committee and the Body Corporate Management Company won’t answer me.
    I feel like I’m in a (not very funny) Monty Python sketch.
    I’d like to fix any problem that may exist but this seems impossible. What can I do, please?
    Ash

    • Hi Ash

      That is just hilarious. Funnily enough I was just writing on the subject yesterday.

      Firstly, its not much of dispute is it. You don’t know what the problem is and you haven’t been asked to change anything. What can you do about it? What do you need to do about it? I’d take no action and let it go. I’d suggest that you’re not exactly good friends with the person who’s made the complaint so its no great loss. Either the situation will come up again and maybe this time someone will tell you whats going on, or the whole thing is a storm in a teacup.

      If you’re really concerned then keep an eye on your committee minutes. It may have been reported in there. It may not though since the body corporate is not taking any action. You could try searching the records of the scheme to see if you could find the complaint.

      If you really want to address the matter, whatever it is, with the tenant, I suggest writing a note and putting it in their letterbox, the better to avoid confrontation. Say exactly what you’ve said here “I’d like to fix the problem …” and see what happens. They might write back and you could get some resolution.

    • Hi Ash

      Just a FYI: If the problem was because of a breach of by-law then the body corporate would get involved.

  12. Suzana Knezevich says:

    I am an owner-occupier in a block of 27 units. Some, but not all, of the committee members have decided to remove the current clothes line and replace it with one that is not even large enough for a family of four and cannot even have sheets spread out across it. Quite frankly, one big load of washing would completely fill up the line.

    They have decided to put up a bbq area, which would be located right next to this greatly reduced clothes line. I personally do not want my washing to smell smokey. My question is am I permitted to put up a clothesline on my parking bay which I do not need for parking?

    • Hi Suzana

      It will depend on your by-laws for the scheme. Possibly there’s a by-law that says the parking area must be used for parking only and nothing can be stored within it. You could try but don’t be surprised if they ask you to take it down.

  13. Hi Lisa,

    I have just moved to a new unit as a tenant. Being a single, female living alone I decided to have a door-viewer (peephole) installed for extra security. The front door is a fire door, therefore I made sure the door viewer I had installed meets the Australian Standards for door viewers specifically for fire doors.
    Although I am only a tenant, leasing through a real estate agent, I have been told from them that the Body Corporate of the unit complex are up in arms over this and have demanded to have the door inspected by a fire door company (costing me $88) – which is fine, as the door viewer meets all the requirements of a fire door, however my agent said that the body corporate has requested my contact details under their legislation and they have to provide it, so I may be hearing from the body corporate. Can you tell me why I would ever need to be contacted by a body corporate when I am renting through a real estate agency? Should this not be the role of the real estate to correspond with the body corporate?
    Also, I am aware now, that I should have sought permission to install the door viewer, however, if it meets the National standards, do you think this issue will continue?
    Thank you for any info you can provide!
    Kate

    • Hi Kate

      Oh dear. Yes, expect to hear from the body corporate. The issue is the only reason you should expect to hear from them: you’ve breached a by-law.

      In an apartment building the boundary is measured in the centre of the walls, floor and ceiling…and the door.

      They’re upset for a couple of reasons. Firstly you’ve made an alteration to common property, the outside of the door, without permission. Secondly they have a duty of care to ensure the integrity of the fire doors and a duty of care to show the owners that they’re taking steps to fulfill those duties.

      Expect a letter about a by-law breach. You will need to pay for the test…it should be OK if you double checked first. Then probably ask for permission. They don’t have to give it but what can they do? It’s done now.

      The worse case scenario is they ask you to replace the door. But if the viewer isn’t causing damage that seems unreasonable to me. You can object if it goes that far through Adjudication.

      I suggest be apologetic, pay for the test and ask for permission if you have to. They may growl a bit but so be prepared. They are required to be reasonable though and it was a mistake.

      • Hi Lisa,

        Thank you very much for getting back to me. Wow! I didn’t realise I had breached the by-laws! Do you know if there are any consequences or repercussions of a breach? Would never had have it installed if I knew that was going to be the case! I have definitely learnt from my mistake and will take your advice on being apologetic etc. I simply wanted a little bit of added security for my peace of mind, however if I knew it was going to cause such a big drama, I would have lived without!

        Thanks again Lisa, for taking the time to get back to me, with useful information and advice!

        Kate

        • You’re welcome Kate.

          You can’t be fined for breaching the by-laws but you will be expected to stop or put right what caused the breach. As I said asking you to replace the door would be the worst but that’s not really reasonable if the viewer isn’t compromising the integrity of the door.

  14. Hi Lisa,

    I have recently been sent an invoice by my real estate payable to the body corporate that I owe the amount for the basement garage gate/door repairs after following another tenant through the gate and having it close on my car windscreen.
    The real estate advised that if I want to dispute it that I need to go through body corporate directly and I’m wanting to know if I have grounds to dispute paying since the sensor didn’t work, due to I think the height if my car. I claimed my windscreen through my insurance and have taken no claim against them.

    Any advice would be helpful, thanks.

    • Hi Lee

      If you believe that the incident was caused by a faulty sensor then by all means object to the invoice.

      You can do that by writing a letter to the body corporate outlining the events that happened and why you believe that the incident was not your fault. Be respectful of course, but make sure you communicate that you don’t believe you should be expected to pay for something that wasn’t your fault.

  15. Tracey Shepherd says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I had an issue with my previous neighbours/exec committee which I aired to people when I moved interstate and it appears I’m being harassed in the same way. I have been an owner occupier in both situations and I’m just wondering if information on owners/occupiers is or can be shared by strata managing agents?

    • Hi Tracey

      No, privacy policies should prevent that sort of passing on of information. There’s no database for owners such as TICA for tenants.

      • Tracey Shepherd says:

        Hi Lisa,

        Thank you very much for your assistance, it is very much appreciated.

        Kind Regards
        Tracey

  16. Tracey Shepherd says:

    Hi Lisa, another question, but is there any restriction to me renting my parking space if not written into a by-law?

    Thank you kindly !!!

    • Hi Tracey

      Yes there may be restrictions. You will need to check the Development Application to ensure the specifics of the why the car spaces are issued; it may say for residents use only. Also there may be restrictions arising under the Letting Authority if there is one (prohibition on carrying out a business on the scheme).

  17. steve smith says:

    Hi Tracey,

    I own a single storey, 2 bedroom brick stand alone unit. It is one of 16 in the complex. they are around 25 years old. my property is situated on the corner of the block and have the largest land size. I am curious to find out the process about extending/ renovating. i simply want to add a third bedroom and bathroom. by doing this the only thing visible to the other units would be a side brick wall which is adjacent to a car park occupied by my neighbour.
    i totally understand the disruption this may cause and would like ideas about the right way to tackle such an approach.
    any tips / info you have for me that may assist me with moving forward would be greatly appreciated.

    kind regards,

    steve

    • Hi Steve

      It’s great to hear you’re concern for your neighbours. They will appreciate it I’m sure. Other than the usual council and architect stuff it’s important to discuss with the body corporate committee before you start. They may have renovation rules you need to comply with. You can read more about renovation here.

  18. Hi Lisa

    Can a Body Corporate make the complex Residential Only , i.e. no holiday letting

    • Hi Roger

      From this Adjudication Order “The BCCMA prohibits by-laws that restrict the leasing of units or restrict the type of residential use that can be made of the unit. By-laws seeking to prohibit the short term letting of units are therefore invalid.”

  19. Colette says:

    I’ve been offered to rent a property with my cats.

    The Real Estate and Owner are ok with this but they have advised they are not going to the Body Corporate with this approval.

    If the Body Corporate does address this with me through the term of the residency, is it up to the owner to sort this out or me?

    Thanks

    C

    • Hi Colette

      That is worrisome, but they may have got away with it in the past; it will depend on the attitudes to pets within the scheme. You as a tenant can make an application for approval. If a problem arises though the body corporate will breach you but any legal action will need to be taken through the owner.

      Perhaps you could add a clause to your lease that if the body corporate cause an issue due to the lack of approval you may break your lease without penalty if approval cannot be granted.

  20. Hi,

    I live in Victoria, so not sure if the laws are different, but I am renting a space for my small business.

    My landlord has issued me with body corporate fees.

    I recently bought this business, and the previous owner said they have been paying these fees for years.

    My understanding is that I should not be paying for them.

    Any advice?

    • Hi Ryan

      Refer to your lease agreement. It should say if you have to pay the fees or not. If it’s not covered you may be able to argue that’s not what was negotiated.

      It is common in commercial leases for body Corp fees to be tenant responsibility.

  21. We are renting a unit in a complex and has always had a problem woth the tenant downstairs, he is the head of our body corporatete and is always complaining about us making noise, these being moving the sliding door, removing our pots from the bottom cupboard, basically any silly noise would get him worked up. He previously complained about us parking in the wrong parking bays but we jav always disputed our fines successfully, so this is a constant fight. Recently one of our visitors unknowingly parked in the wrong bay again, for about 10 minutes andas they were leaving the hooted once for me tocome out so they could say bye, our conversation was rudely interrupted by the tenant downstairs who started shouting at them, being disrepectful from the get go. I feel embarrased and humiliated as these are my guests and it is no way to treat them, esp coming from the head of the body corp who should know better. Of course we got 2 fines, one for hooting and another for theparking bay that was ised, and I will try my best to dispute. However I have a problem with him mistreating my guestthe way he did. What can I do to make it clear to hom that his behaviour was unacceptable and to prevent him lashing out at my vosotors again? We are planning on moving as I cannot continue livinng like this, it has taken an emotional knock at me and is affecting my relationship with my spoise. Please help

    • Hi R

      Firstly, don’t pay any fines to a body corporate…they are not allowed to issue then. If you have paid fines in the past you may seek Adjudication to be reimbursed.

      The behaviour is a more difficult thing to deal with. Your first step could be a letter of complaint to the body corporate. In this case it’s probably not going to help. I suggest there is little chance the man downstairs is going to be unreasonable. But complain about the behaviour and ask for respectful communication.

      You can attempt conciliation but there isn’t really a dispute so much as poor behaviour and there is no law that says how people must act. If you feel in danger call the police.

      It’s sad but moving is the only surefire way to deal with the problem.

  22. J.Moonsamy says:

    Hi . I’m renting a unit in a complex and I have been verbally abused by the chairman’s mother in full view of other unit owners and tenants . I’m a guy so I could not defend myself verbally . what steps should I take to resolve this matter ? . I have called for a body corp meeting but i am being ignored . thnx

    • Hi J

      There’s a couple of things about this I’m confused about. The first is the “I’m a guy so I could not defend myself verbally”. I’m missing something there because I don’t follow.

      Second, what outcome are you hoping to achieve? What is the issue? It sounds like someone was rude to you and embarrassed you, which is awful, my commiserations. I’m not sure how that has anything to do with the body corporate.

  23. Millee Swan says:

    Hi Lisa,

    So I live in a block of units and one afterteroon a pipe burst above our unit and went above and into our fan and triggered the light and the fan therefore water was spread out throughout the room destroying my laptop, tv and mattress 🙁 does the bodycorp responsible for these damages??

    Thanks

    • Hi Millee

      Well that sucks. One word – Insurance.

      The body corporate will have insurance over all the units. Damage as a result of something like this will almost certainly be covered. Contact your rental agent and ask them to make a claim via the body corporate manager.

      Whomever is deemed to be responsible will also be responsible for the insurance excess. It could be the body corporate or it could be your owner or it could be the owner above. It depends on where the water sprang from. A lot, yours or the one above, or infrastructure the body corporate takes care of. I can’t see a scenario where it would be you.

      If the claim is denied then again whomever is at fault is responsible.

  24. hi.. I’m renting a room in a 2 unit apartment together with the owner of the apartment. but I was asked to pay the body corporate fees… should I pay it? or is this just entirely for the owner?

    I was renting a single bedroom apartment before for 2 years and the owner that owns the complex didn’t ask me to pay for this.
    Thanks

    • 2 bedroom*** (not unit) ^_^

    • Hi Bien

      The lot owner is responsible for the body corporate levies. They are the person the body corporate will chase for payment.

      But, whether or not you will need to share the cost as a tenant is completely dependent on your agreement with the owner. If you have a written lease agreement the terms should be set out clearly in the contract. If you have an oral agreement, and it wasn’t mentioned, you will need to negotiate a solution with the owner.

      By the way it is uncommon for a residential tenant to pay body corporate levies though a regular situation in commercial tenancies. A room is not a shop though so I would suggest you object to paying and note that it is a lot owner responsibility not resident cost.

      Good luck

  25. Just received in the mail box this evening advice that the committee has arranged to paint the letterboxes in the complex on Monday. No motion, no quote. no resolution. No formal or voting outside of a committee meeting notice, but it is happening. Interesting.

  26. Hi Lisa
    I read in an earlier post that body corporates are not allowed to issue fines. Is that an across the board rule?
    My daughter has been issued a fine for excessive noise in the latest episode with a downstairs neighbour who complains every time my daughter makes the slightest noise. She can’t even wear hard soled slippers let alone shoes in the apartment.
    Even with this going on, my daughter, being 22 and not really thinking things through, decided to have 5 friends over to celebrate her birthday. Worried that she would upset the neighbour yet again, she called the property manager and asked her to give the neighbour her phone number so that she could call or text if the noise was annoying.
    Instead of doing that the neighbour once again complained to the body corporate who issued a fine. Does she have to pay this?
    Your advice would be appreciated.
    Cheers
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle

      That’s correct. The body corporate may not issue “fines” for breach of by-law.

      I suggest she write to them and note that it is breach of legislation. If they try to force the issue contact the Office Commissioner Body Corporate to make a complaint.

      If her lot has hard flooring it can be a contentious issue. It will echo below quite loudly. Does the flooring have approval? I would make sure that is in place. Often when disputes arise every little thing gets dragged up.

      • Thanks for your reply Lisa.
        Yes, they have hardwood floors and they have only metal between the floors rather than concrete which is why the noise insulation is bad. How can I find out if the flooring has approval?
        Cheers
        Michelle

        • Hi Michelle

          If you didn’t install the floor yourselves, as in it was there when you bought the property, then the approval is (hopefully) recorded in the minutes somewhere. You’d need to do a search of the records to find. I’m assuming you own the property here. If you’re only renting then its an owner responsibility.

  27. Jack n Emma says:

    Hi,

    I recently moved to a unit and complex have automatic gates. We only have a touch card to open the gates in and out. I see multiple cars waitng to get out of the complex everyday. If you don;t that card you cannot go out. If I have visitors, when they arrive I have to walk over 100m to get them in and again I have to walk again to let them out. I noticed keypads already installed but only for fire department and police have PIN codes. That seems quite unusal. Is there any ground for that? Do I have any right to stand against this weird practice?

    • Hi Jack n Emma

      What you’re talking about is a peculiarity of the way the schemes gates are set up.

      You may certainly object and express your dissatisfaction. They may appreciate the feedback but there is no requirement for the body corporate to “fix” it for you. They have an obligation to keep things in good repair. There is no obligation to rectify design faults.

  28. Mathew sumich says:

    Hi, my 87 year old mum has recently moved into a unit that has a common driveway to her unit. She told me today that the community bus dropped her off at her door as it was pouring with rain and she had grocery shopping. I was concerned when she told me as i think the body corporate prevents community bus access probably on the ground of safety. I guess i am concerned for my mums safety in walking from main road to her unit in such weather conditions. Any suggestions on how i may address this if it is raised by body corporate.

    • Hi Mathew

      Simply explain as you’ve done with me. It seems like special circumstance to me. If someone brings it up all you can do is apologise. Maybe ask if there are other things that can be done to help your mother. Hopefully there’s a good community environment.

  29. Hi I live in a so called secured gated community, on Saturday or Sunday night a number of cars were keyed, (not Mine) thankfully, as it is a secured gated community is the body corporate responsible for the damage to the cars as it has happened a few times before, I have asked the manager to ask for cameras to be installed , the damage to the cars is substantial, and of no fault to the owners or the tenants.

    • Hi Dianne

      I couldn’t say Dianne, that would be a question for a judge or adjudicator.

      I suspect no. There’s nothing to say that the person(s) who keyed the cars doesn’t live in the gated community with every right to be there. How can the body corporate be responsible for that? Where is their negligence?

  30. Hi, I have bought a body corp managed building, downstairs is a restaurant but upstairs is a legal residential six bedroom home. Body corp rules state I can only have one person – ie a caretaker for the restaurant below, living in this large flat. Is this a fair rule, what can I do to allow 5 people live up there please? This is Auckland New Zealand.

    • Hi Carol

      If you are the owner of both lots you have all the votes in the body corporate and can vote by resolution without dissent to amend the by-laws to whatever you want.

      If there are other lots in the scheme you will need to put forth a motion at the next general meeting to amend the by-laws via special resolution to whatever you want. Then it will be up to the owners to decide.

  31. Hi, my partner and I are tenants of a two bedroom apartment with two allocated car spaces. One of the car spaces is next to 3 visitors car spaces and gets parked in at least once a fornight as other people assume its a visitors car space too. This leaves me to find another spot or park illigally. I have called my real estate who have then called the Body Corporate. The BC is refusing to do anything, not even a blanket letter to all residents reminding them to inform their visitors of where is appropriate to park. BC have just said keep putting note on the cars that park there.
    I don’t feel this is good enough. What can I do?

    • Hi Kate

      This is difficult situation. To an owner I would say suggest getting some quotes for line marking and submitting them for approval and payment to the committee, or even at general meeting. Maybe some sort of notice that this is a reserved car park? If you have quotes and submit and ask them to pay, or rather your owner, then possibly you have a reason to seek adjudication. Speak with the Office Commissioner Body Corporate.

      The body corporate is required to enforce the by-laws but the practice of putting notes on the cars when people park in the wrong place is sadly much of what they’re limited to. I would have thought a blanket letter would have been a good idea. You can always ask again. If you don’t like the way they have responded Conciliation is your remedy.

      Maybe you could try putting a witches hat in the car park after you leave. It is difficult to deal with people who park in the wrong spaces and for some people it doesn’t matter what you do they will still be jerks. Differentiating the spot somehow may help.

  32. When an owners corporation knows asbestos is in the building, safety issues exits can it ignore requests to fix? Does it it need committe appr Val or must put act? What specific sections of the owners corp regulations govern this?

    You can not believe how incompetent owners corporations can be n Victoria Australia
    Suzanne Walters

    • Hi Suzzane

      Legislation between Victoria and Queensland is different. I am in QLD and talk about QLD schemes.

      Asbestos, in most situations, needs simply to be left alone. The Work Health & Safety Act requires that “workplaces”, which does include most schemes, need an asbestos audit to identify if there is asbestos. If there is then there needs to be an asbestos register which should be referred to before any works on the premises.

      People seem to have this idea that Owners Corporations are … well corporations. They’re not. They’re lot owners just like you, rarely with any sort of experience, who’ve volunteered to take on a challenging role on behalf of themselves and other owners. It makes for some less than professional outcomes. If you feel you can do it better then you’re just the sort of person they’re looking for to have a go.

  33. Hi Lisa,
    During the last severe wind episode this year in Melbourne in August, a very large branch snapped off and fell against the front door of my rented flat, I cleared a lot of the dead branches away, to gain access to my door,I Reported this to the property manager in early October,and she came out and photographed the tree, her next communication late October said the body corporate can take a long time to resolve these issues, There is a significant amount of wood and branches which restrict access to my back yard, plus i feel a safety issue as I gashed my arm moving my bin out for recycling, am also concerned about a fire hazard, the branches being so near to my front door, The owner has been to look at it, So just wondering as it is into December now, what else can I do ?

    • Hi Bill

      Things take a long time to address when insurance claims are made. That said, blockage of access should be addressed immediately and if its taking this long then it seems that not much is being done. I would follow up directly with the strata manager to see what is happening, if anything. Its frustrating, I know, but its the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Is it the body corporate or your owner who’s delaying things? If its your owner then you may breach them under the conditions of your lease. If it’s the body corporate, I’d complain, and if still nothing happens, then see what remedies you have in your state for conciliation.

      Additionally you could make a claim for personal injury. That would probably light a fire under them.

  34. Hi Lisa,
    I’m an owner in a small complex. I am raising 2 young children on my own and I have neighbours who employ passive-aggressive bullying tactics against us. The adult son upstairs owns the unit directly above us and lives with his 2 parents and adult sister in the unit. Sometimes when my children argue etc or I need to raise my voice, they bang on their floor/my ceiling. They are completely intolerant of any noise. (I once asked them to come down and speak with me if they had a problem with the noise. But they acted all innocently, that one of them had a headache). They smoke dope and this comes through my children’s and my bedroom windows. They flick cigarette butts and spit over the balcony into my ground floor unit garden bed and I have been propositioned by the father upstairs. This morning my car has a distinct smell of male urine. Their balcony is directly above my car space and garden bed. They always smile and say hello to me in the common areas so that they appear “nice” in public and to make matters worse the mother upstairs is on the Body Corporate Committee, even though her son is the one who owns the unit! I feel unsafe and as it is just myself and my children I feel unable to speak up for fear of further retribution. I don’t know what I can do to stop this and at the same time ensure mine and my children’s safety.

    • Hi Kate

      That sounds terrible. I had a similar experience when I lived in a strata scheme with young children. Unfortunately there’s no law that says people have to act a certain way. What you’re describing sounds unpleasant and certainly scary however it doesn’t sound like any by-laws or legislation is being breached. About the only thing the body corporate will be able to address is the cigarette butts dropped in your garden.

      There is no problem the mother being on the committee if her son owns the lot.

      Essentially you have a crappy neighbours whom you don’t like. You can complain about the cigarette butts and the smoking, call the police if dope is being smoked and try and catch them in the act of being an ass of anything else. You can complain when you have evidence.

  35. Chris Redzimski says:

    Hi,

    I was just wondering if the chairman is able to film conversations, or take photos of people on the premises and then pass them onto a third party without the consent of all people involved. This obviously relates to breaches of by laws on the premises, but I was of the understanding that these images and recordings cannot be shared to third parties without consent, especially when their is minors involved.

    • Hi Chris

      Its got nothing to do with by-laws or bodies corporate and everything to do with the national privacy laws that relate to filming conversations and passing on images. Being a Chairman does not give you permission to opt out of our legal system.

      I don’t know those rules I’m afraid. Try a google search for guidance.

  36. Just wondering if you could help with a few queries:

    My strata management is currently charging me to purchase tickets to use common property on new years eve, is this allowed? I am an owner occupier

    Also what are the rules around visitors parking? I’ve had friends park in the visitors parking overnight and building management has stuck flyers on their windscreen threatening to tow them away. The odd thing is that the carpark is completely empty so I’m not sure they are surveying this so strictly!! When I asked them, I was informed that visitors parking was not allowed for overnight stays but the bylaws broadly state that nobody may use the common property car park without strata’s written consent

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Sarah

      There are limited situations where the usage of common property may be limited, usually when that area is granted to someone for exclusive use or under an occupation authority.

      Otherwise no, they cannot be charged to access common property. You are an owner. Even you were a tenant then you cannot be limited access as its unlawful to discriminate against differ groups of residents.

      Refer to your by-laws and house rules for visitor parking rules. They will be your guide.

      By-laws are required to be reasonable. If you feel the by-laws are unreasonable you can challenge them in adjudication. Its a good idea to seek legal advice first as you don’t want to end up being stuck with costs if the adjudicators finds its reasonable.

  37. Sue Munro says:

    Is it legal for unit owner who has exclusive use of body Corp garage to rent that space seperately for storage
    Thanks
    Sue

    • Hi Sue

      It will depend on the terms of the exclusive use grant and the by-laws of the scheme. Refer to the Community Management Statement and / or discuss with your strata manager or committee.

  38. Hi Lisa,

    I just need to know my options as I feel that I am being harassed and bullied by strata and not sure what my option are. I moved in the property in 2014 and have been parking my car at the front door, as the property i am renting is at the back of the complex and so the previous owners have paved the driveway which leads to the front door, the vehicle is not blocking or protruding out onto the driveway and impacting any residents. There are 2 elderly residents who do not like my children and have start making complaints against me parking on common property. I do not use the visitors spots nor do i block anyone or bother any residents but now they are threatening me with legal action. What can I do.

    • Hi Sherlin

      The by-laws most likely prohibit you from parking on common property so there isn’t a lot you can do about it. About your only option will be to get permission to park there from the committee. You can send an email to the committee asking them to approve the car space. If they don’t approve, and no reasons are given have a chat to the Office Commissioner Body Corporate and see if you can make a Conciliation application to have the space approved for you.

      If you can, ask the lot owner what arrangements were in place regarding the parking space. It may already have been granted as exclusive use or permission given otherwise.

  39. does a croporate body have control a house and land privately owned as we paying a croporate body
    on our house as it privastely owned why

    • Hi Susan

      I’m not sure I understand your question. The body corporate never has control of a house or privately owned land.

      The body corporate owns and controls common property and if you live in a body corporate you must abide by the rules affecting the common property. If you own in a body corporate then you are a part owner of the body corporate and must contribute levies and abide by the by-laws.

  40. Lawrence Collins says:

    Hello
    I let my unit, in a small complex of 12 as a holiday rental in a popular tourist destination in Queensland through stayz.
    I use stayz so I can vet the guests and ensure that they are aware of conditions of bookings, a no party policy and to be aware by-laws and respectful of other owners and tenants in the complex.
    Other lot owners have been harassing me about this because they claim that it has always been an understanding among owners that the units are not let for short term holiday rentals.
    I am aware of S180 of the BCCM Act but there is now a plan stop me letting the unit for holidays by enforcing a by law which states that the lots can only be used for residential purposes and not commercial.
    Their argument is that I am using the unit for commercial use by letting it out through stayz.
    Any advice
    Lawrence

    • Hi Lawrence

      There is an ongoing battle at present with short stay letting owners and bodies corporate. The legality of the situation at the moment is that owners and bodies corporate have little chance of restricting holiday rentals.

      The body corporate has no right to make by-laws restricting the use of a lot. It exceeds their powers. Zoning is controlled by the local councils not the body corporate.

      It doesn’t matter what “understanding” the owners feel they may have had all that matters is the legality of the situation. That’s why schemes have by-laws because owners change as lots are bought and sold and so do the values and beliefs in a scheme.

      All that is well and good however doesn’t change the fact that you’ll likely end up with a fight on your hands. That is the state of the current market. People want to do short stay letting, other owners do not want them to. Problems ensue. If you do decide to seek Adjudication I suggest getting legal advice from a solicitor with body corporate experience. You only have the one shot to present your evidence so it’s worth doing well.

  41. Hi Lisa,
    The Chairperson in our complex refuses to have her fire door inspected, she says it was deemed compliant, but it has not, so she will not allow it to be inspected again, we as owners have had to foot the bill for the inspector to visit her unit 3 times, but she just makes sure she is not there to grant him access. Her door was deemed non compliant last year, the body corporate don’t seem interested and just fob off any enquiries as to whether the building is compliant due to one door not being inspected. As the chairperson on the committee you would think she would be setting an example. She has also breached a by law by putting up an umbrella that has an arm attached to common property, no permission was sought and again the body corporate do nothing. As a concerned owner what can I do if anything

    • Hi Sharon

      That sounds like a frustrating situation. You may need to seek Conciliation or Adjudication.

      The body corporate committee needs to take action first to make a decision about matters. I’m not sure if you’re on a committee or not, but if you are then ask the Strata Manager to send her an letter that she must seek permission for the umbrella or remove it. If she refuses then seek an order that she seek permission.

      The same with the fire door. If its a problem for fire safety then the scheme needs to be given proof that the fire door is compliant. Send a letter asking for documentation. If its not provided seek Adjudication.

      If you’re not on the committee you need to find out the attitudes of the committee. Ask them to enforce the by-laws. If they do not you can seek adjudication against the body corporate for not enforcing by-laws.

  42. Hi, we have renters in one out of seven units in our owners corporation. They moved into the property November 2016 and since Boxing Day continue to leave their rubbish cart/bin on the common area outside their unit. I did provide the lessors with a copy of the OC Rules and also emailed a copy to the owner of the unit. In the Rules its states that bins are not be left on the common area and are to put away on their property ie. garage, backyard, etc. It is has been 6 weeks and they continue to leave the bins on the common area. I have put a reminder note in their letterbox (but no luck) and have emailed the unit owner (and no answer). What can we do to make them put the bins away like the other tenants do (we also have another unit that is leased and the people follow the Rules and put their bins away every week on the after collection).
    Thanks, Carmen

    • Hi Carmen

      I’m not sure of the rules in NSW so best to check with someone who does. That said, here in QLD I would suggest sending a letter to the owner noting that the issue is ongoing. From there, if the behaviour continues a contravention notice is issues and from there the option is to seek conciliation or adjudication. There are new rules in NSW about how you do that.

      Check out the flat chat forum. Someone there may be able to give you some further, local, ideas.

  43. Hey guys…staying at a rental property with 1 secured basement car spot and storage in the lease…landlord hasnt sorted the carspot yet and im parking off street for the last 2 weeks (rent paid for 2 weeks)

    Requested a refund for parking and storage and the agent replied as follows

    “a tenant is only eligible for a rent reduction/ refund, should the unit be classified inhabitable”

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated as we believe we require a refund for the fecilities(area of the property) we dint receive

    Cheers

    • Hi Krish

      That sounds like a problem with the lease rather than a problem with the body corporate. Check out the tenancy tribunal for advice.

  44. Hello,
    I live Qld in a block of 16 units. On our Bylaws it has the standard spiel about visitor car parking. We have three visitor spaces at one end of the complex & I believe there is the same at the other end as we did have a front & back entrance. I arrived home yesterday to find a sign the near the driveway entrance that says. NO VISITOR PARKING. Tenants cars only in this complex. Trades & services permitted. I would like to know if they can do this. I ask because I have a disability that requires my carer & other people for a variety of reasons to pick me up from, or drop me off to, my unit. They are actually parking in my unit carport not the visitor carpark.
    My carer was dropping me off yesterday with my groceries & I was confronted by the Body Corporate Committees Chairman’s partner who stated that my visitors car cannot be in the complex even though they were in my carport. Your advice would be appreciated.

    • Hi Deb

      Yes, absolutely the scheme can do this. From the body corporate’s perspective it is ideal for them to enforce the by-laws evenhandedly. Presumably they’re having trouble with visitor parking which is why they’ve made the decision to exclude all visitor vehicles.

      Your carer qualifies as a service and should be permitted. Discuss this with the committee and make it clear it’s because of your disability.

      • Sue Jenna says:

        Aren’t visitor spaces mandatory according to Council regulations? i.e unit blocks being built (in recent decades) must provide for visitor parking on the plan which cannot be sold off or disposed of in any other way??
        As long as the car is a bona-fide visitor, they can enter and drop-off, or park for a short while?
        (Admittedly I live in NSW – so QLD might be different).

        • Hi Sue

          The development approval from council will set out how many car parks the scheme has to have for residents. I haven’t heard what about a requirement for visitor parking.

          Some schemes are resident only parking. So long as residents have the allocated spaces should be OK.

  45. Hi lisa a committee member is short term renting to airbnb visitors no lease,
    our council says that the person concerned needs to make a D A application as council has said our building is zoned 2b residential the strata is registered residential only and also section 258 of strata management act 2015requires notice of change of use. notification i.e within fourteen days from residential to commercial short term rental,

    • Hi Tony

      I don’t know a lot about short term letting I’m afraid. Here in QLD it is allowable My understanding with AirBnB, particularly as it relates to NSW, is that it is allowable.

      I suggest you check out Flat-chat forum and see what other owners are doing.

  46. Hi.
    There is a very useful link about RELATIONSHIP between BC and tenants as a occupier where the Commissioner explains the relationship.

    https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/Managing/Open-house-property-managers-and-owners-newsletter/Nov-2015/Body-Corporate-Commissioner

    It is clear enough, that BC have to give a name of other occupier (tenants or owners) to other occupiers if they want enforcing the By-Laws.

  47. Hi Lisa,
    We have over 20 visitor carspots in my apartment, at first there was no restrictions but now letters have been left on all the cars to move it away as it is illegal and it is for visitors only and not resident. Is it legal for the body corporate to tow my car away should i continue to park there?
    Thanks,
    Elsa

    • Hi Elsa

      If you continue to park in the visitor car spaces though you are a resident then you will be breaching the bylaws.

      Legislation gives specific process schemes must use to enforce bylaws. It takes time and legal action.

      If the scheme tows your car without the right process first they are in the wrong.

      Your car will still have been towed though and you will need to deal with the inconvenience and cost of that, then seek legal action for reimbursement. It’s better for all concerned if you just don’t park in the visitor spaces.

  48. Hi Lisa,
    When I signed my lease with my agent we were told that if we had two vehicles we could park one in garage and park one in common area.
    Which is owned by body corporate the vehicle that we had parked outside in common area has been unregistered for 2months, the agents we signed lease with sold management rights and new owners have now told us that we aren’t allowed to park in the front.
    When walking my kids to school one of the property managers approached me and started having a go at me Infront of my kids saying that he was going to breach us if we didn’t move car.
    I tried to explain to him that when we signed lease with previous agent they told us we were allowed to use one parking space he then said they are no longer the agents I am and what I say goes.
    I feel that I’m being bullied and harassed,
    A few hours after that me and my neighbor were sitting inside my garage and he walks straight inside garage uninvited and goes there’s your breach for parking in the front.
    This isn’t the first time he has showed up when we parked in one of the spaces, he walked up started banging on our unit door and threatened to breach my husband if he didn’t move the car to another parking space as the one we were using blocked access to the front units side gate.
    Which wasn’t our fault that’s just they way the parking lot is set up by body corporate and we were parked inside the white lines.
    What can I as tenant do in situations like this?

    • Hi Ana

      It is quite probably that a unregistered car is not allowed to be parked anywhere on the common property. Once unregistered it becomes an item, not a vehicle, since you’re not legally allowed to use it on the road. It should be moved asap. Maybe you could move the unregistered vehicle into the garage and apply to the committee for permission to park on the common property. The rental agent did not have the authority to give you permission to park on common property so regardless what he said it’s the committee’s decision.

      It would depend on what’s been decided by the committee. It may be them who have instructed the Caretaker to get you to move your vehicle. In which case you should remove the vehicle.

      To deal with the bullying behaviour is more difficult. Traditionally you would communication to the committee through your owner or agent. In this case it’s about your agent so that makes things more problematic. You can write a formal written complaint to the committee and see what they do. They should reply. I found myself in a similar situation when I was renting and in the end I moved.

      Maybe had a talk to the Residential Tenants Authority about what you’re experiencing. They may have additional resources to help. In the meantime keep a record of dates, times and issues that arise and what is said. It will help in the future if legal action is necessary.

  49. Samantha says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I recently signed a lease agreement for an apartment which advertised having two car spots.

    After signing the lease, we were advised there was a mixed up and that the apartment only has one car spot.

    We’ve asked for some sort of compensation for the loss of the car spot. Our real estate agent has offered to pay $5 out of her own pocket towards the rent per week.

    What rights do we have? We signed this lease knowing we had two car spots. We live less than 10km from Melbourne CBD and are unable to park out the front of the apartment complex as we live on a busy road.

    Thanks,
    Sam

    • Hi Samantha

      This doesn’t have anything to do with the body corporate. Its a contract dispute between you and the real estate agent.

      You could try and ask the body corporate if you could use a visitor space but in all likelihood they will say no. Parking is a premium.

  50. Hi, a tenant (father of owner) has recently commenced placing his council rubbish bin in his lock up garage. In a strange quirk of our building his garage is directly under our bedroom. His bin often smells and he has moved it away from where it is traditionally located by his apartment. There is no mention of bins in the strata by-laws.
    BTW we are barely on speaking terms. There are a list of grievances from both parties
    How can I manage this?

    • Hi Peter

      With any dispute the first step will be to self-resolve. You must ask him to please move the bin as it’s disturbing you. You can do in person or through a note. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. If he says no. Write to the committee and ask them if they could instruct him to move the bin. If they refuse to help then you will need to make an application for conciliation that the bin be moved or alternatively cleaned regularly. If the conciliation doesn’t work then apply for adjudication or a court order.

      Keep a track of all your attempts to resolve, who you speak to and when and what happens. Try and be polite and respectful and walk away if things get heated. Keep copies of all your written interactions. It seems a reasonable request to me and if you can demonstrate that so much the better.

      Your challenge here will be to stick with one item at a time. If you can follow it through from start to finish you’ll be more likely to get resolution.

  51. Can an Agent of an owner, enter the properties common drive way through a secure gate, and take photographs of the other owners property and pass these onto the owner of the tenanted property, without the permission of the Owners Corporation?

  52. Is this correct? If the lessor has exclusive use of a car space or storage area, so too will the tenant, assuming the right forms part of the lease agreement. If a lessor has no right to use of an area then neither will the tenant. Also what Clause does this come under in the Body Corporate rules?

    • Hi Susan

      Yes that is correct.

      You’re talking about exclusive use and common property. If you want to find a specific clause that mentions what you’re looking for search through the Act and the Regulation Module applying. You can navigate via links in the side bar, then control F and enter your search term. Also search your scheme by-laws for the actual allocations.

      • Hi Lisa

        Thank you for your advice, is this correct for Victoria

        • Hi Susan

          I’m an expert on QLD legislation. I don’t know about Victoria, though it is still termed exclusive use and common property. A search of the Victoria legislation should give you what you’re looking for.

  53. Michelle Begaud says:

    Hi, I have a tenant who does not have a car…there is an underground gated car parking area, he parked his mobility scooter there and plugged it in to charge it – common area electricity. There are 6 units in which nearly all are holiday let (mine is on a permanent lease) another landlord is saying that my tenant can not use common area electricity. My argument is that their holiday tenants use common area electricity to vacuum out the sand from their cars is no different. What are the rules on common area usage?

    • Hi Michelle

      Rules about common property electricity should be contained within the bylaws for the scheme. If not mentioned in the bylaws the general rule of thumb will be that owners or residents should not use common electricity for private purposes.

      Applying that is a little more challenging. The argument would be that the mobility scooter is being charged longer than a vacuum, and presumably more often. Resolving this will be a simple matter of quantifying how much power the resident is using and asking them to pay for it.

  54. Julie Cvitanovich says:

    Hi I live in a complex that has holiday guests, I rent my unit from a private owner of my unit, the managers of the complex have insisted on having a copy of our rental agreement before we could use the pool, plus we are allowed no guests in the pool …
    Car parks we are asked to park in the lines of our car park our tyres were within the parking lines but the car boot was over the lines by one foot we were asked to remove the car or move it up to be within the lines, as we had 2 cars in our space and both cars were larger cars, eg merc & Jag we could not move to satisfy the managers .. we were threatened that they will take matters further with body corp and will be advised that our parking is not acceptable and we had to find other parking or downsize cars ..
    Please advise

    • Hi Julie

      Oh dear, this sounds like an unpleasant situation.

      It is unlawful to discriminate with scheme common property. That means as you’re a legal resident of the scheme you have all the same rights to the common property as an owner, including having guests at the pool. The manager is not in control of who can or can’t use the pool. It may give them that right in the by-laws, which I would ask to see to prove if they say so, but even then its an unreasonable bylaw and likely not enforceable.

      With the parking; its better by far if you can negotiate a solution with the managers. If you don’t think you could do that maybe taking it further with the body corporate is something you should let happen, or even instigate yourself. Perhaps expressing your dissatisfaction with the manager to the committee is a good way of proceeding. The problem is it could go one of two ways: you could reach a reasonable solution that works for everyone and get the manager off your back or end up being hounded by the manager and the committee.

      This is a difficult situation. You’re taking the right steps in finding out what your rights are. If it were just the parking issue I would say, pedantic, but maybe lawful, but again it could be unreasonable to expect parking between the lines. Its a difficult call. With the pool issues and having to produce your lease it does sound unreasonable. I use that word because the body corporate is required to be reasonable at all times. The key will be to remain reasonable but also stand up for your rights. I know that’s not the most helpful response but as all dealings with people its going to be a fine line between exacerbating the situation and being able to get on with things.

  55. Hi I am moving into an apartment next week and I was sorting out my electricity and gas. The real estate agent said that I only need to set up electricity because the gas is under the body corporate. Does that mean I still pay for the gas or the owner does? Thank you.

    • Hi Shahan

      The body corporate probably buys bulk gas and resells it to the residents. It means you get a cheaper rate. Many schemes do it with electricity and sometimes water as well.

      You definitely pay for what you use, its just that you pay your body corporate.

      *EDIT* You’ll need to set up an account so contact the body corporate like you would the gas provider.

  56. Victoria says:

    Hi,
    I have recently purchased an apartment with settlement last week. I was told on settlement day when picking up the keys that someone was still occupying the storage cage that lived in another unit in the apartment. I was told by the real estate agent that he has been already been given weeks notice that he had to remove his items however is obviously refusing too stating that “he is too busy”. I contacted the body corporate manager (by both phone and email) earlier in the week and said that out of curtesy I would give them til today to move the items as I am only moving in this weekend however turned up today and the items are still there. I once again rang the body corporate manager who said that the person has told him that he will remove his items by this weekend (like he has said every other week so I’m not confident that he will).

    I was wondering what my rights are to get his items removed if he continues to refuse to move them, given that he has already received notice in written form to remove the items? In hind sight it really should have been done at settlement but as it is my first apartment I didn’t even think to check! Live and learn.
    Thanks.

    • Hi Victoria

      Its interesting the body corporate have even chosen to get involved in this matter since, on the surface, its nothing to do with them. Rather its between you and the person who rented/ is using the storage cage. Unless the body corporate somehow got involved in giving that person permission to use the cage (something they don’t have authority to do) then it should be a matter between you, as rightful exclusive use holder of the space, and the person using the space.

      Your remedies are going to be the same as any other landlord when a tenant leaves property on their premises. Check any written agreement first. Maybe follow up with the Residential Tenants Authority or speak with a Solicitor. It might be as simple as sending a letter of demand … ie you have till x date or the goods will be sent to the tip. I don’t know the legal ramifications I’m afraid so recommend you explore further.

  57. Hi Lisa,
    I’ve searched the net but can’t find an answer. I’m a tenant in a unit with an internal bathroom – no windows to the outside (mine is the only unit with an internal bathroom in a 4 unit complex). There is a skylight that allows plenty of natural light throughout the day, but no ventilation. Recently, the body corporate have replaced the roof of the building. During this the roofer has simply roofed over the skylight. Now there is just a sheet of corrugated iron when I look up into the shaft.
    I’m really unhappy about this. I don’t know what my legal standing is here. I’ve been here two years and I’m really happy but I would never have taken the place if this dark, black, closed off room was there from the start. Now there is no light, no ventilation and an ugly sheet of iron covering a ragged hole in my ceiling.
    Is there anything I can do?
    Kind regards,
    Nathan

    • Hi Nathan

      Your best bet is to discuss with your real estate agent. Things will go more smoothly if they or your owner will back your request. Most likely you will need to send them a letter of complaint which they will then submit to the body corporate.

      What remedy are you seeking? Reinstatement of the skylight? Some other form of lighting and ventilation? If you’re clear about the solution you’re more likely to get it, or something similar.

      If the body corporate say too bad then your next step will be to discuss with the Office Commissioner Body Corporate. You’re somewhat hampered by being a tenant but discuss with them what your options are.

  58. Hi Lisa,

    Hoping you can shed some light for me. I am a tenant, having moved into the complex 6 weeks ago. Included in my lease agreement is exclusive use of a private roof top space where I have placed furniture (couches, dining set, fridge etc). I was accosted this morning in the stairwell by the body corporate chairperson (who is constantly knocking on my door and leaving notes on my door about trivial body corp related issues such as common area pest control – she obviously has nothing better to do with her time) In any case – she advised me that they have engaged a contractor to replace the waterproofing membrane on my roof top as well as a few other roof tops – and that more specifically I need to remove all furniture from the roof top area, arrange my own storage of said furniture and then i will not be permitted to access the roof top for at least 2 weeks while it dries. I was made aware of this work having to be done by my agent a week after i moved in and have had an argument with them because i don’t believe it should be my responsibility to arrange to move or store the furniture and secondly i believe the owner should be compensating me for the 2 weeks where i cannot access the roof top (which i pay for under my lease) the agent is useless and keeps ignoring me, but this morning the chairperson was quite forward in demanding that i move the furniture within the next few days. I am a single female living alone and cannot physically move the furniture but i think this is besides the point. Would I be correct in assuming that the owner should be responsible for this as i was never made aware of it prior to signing the lease?

    Thank you – sorry for such a long winded comment.

    • Hi Sam

      From the body corporate’s perspective all residents are bound by the body corporate by-laws, whether they’re owners or tenants.

      The by-laws will state that access is a must when works of this nature are necessary. You’ve been given notice of the need for access (those things you refer to as trivial body corp issues) which are also happily indicators the scheme has met their legislative requirements.

      They’ve given you the notice and now you must comply. Water membrane works mean the building is leaking and that’s a serious problem than needs to be addressed for all residents and owners.

      As to whether the owner is responsible for the costs: that’s a matter between you and the owner and the terms of your lease.

      Its certainly probable you will have a valid claim, at least for lack of access to the roof (adjustment in the rent because a part of the property was ‘uninhabitable’). I’m not sure about moving and storage of furniture. This is a matter for the tenancy tribunal though not the body corporate.

      I suggest you move the furniture or get it moved. It will be easier to argue the point or seek reimbursement after the fact with the owner than the body corporate. If you do nothing then the body corporate is likely to take action and stick you with the cost. Its cheaper for them than to take losses if the contract cannot proceed as scheduled. Beware there as well: costs from any delays due to your lack of action will also be passed on.

  59. We just got a dog which is being trained as an assistance dog for my wife. We live in a unit which we rent and where other unit owners have dogs.

    Someone has complained that we have an unauthorised dog on the property. As far as i am aware we dont even need to get landlord approval for an assistance dog and i would assume this applies also to the sticky beaks in the body corporate. These rights i believe are upheld under the disability discrimination act. I believe they are walking a fine line under this act even by emailing all unit owners of my email to the body corporate secretary

    • Hi David

      I’m not aware of any rights under the disability discrimination act. That’s not my area of expertise. The BCCM Act certainly does make provision for upholding rights conferred under other Acts and it’s possible that the scheme by-laws also make provision. What those provisions are you, and your committee will need to find out for yourself.

      I don’t see any problem in the way the committee has reacted. Control of pets is part of what they are required to do. Notwithstanding the legalities of the issue which you’ll need to check it seems reasonable to me that someone bringing a dog onto the property without permission should be confronted. There is no way to know it’s intended as an assistance animal unless informed.

  60. Stephen says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I live in a rented ground floor apartment and the top floor apartment constantly wash their balcony which then drains off onto my balcony covering my outdoor furniture with dirty water (It’s like a waterfall).
    I believe this is a breach of the bylaws?

    I have sent many emails to my building manager regarding this and they have not done anything about it.

    I have been dealing with this for the past 3 months. Is there anything I can do?

    Thank you

    • Hi Stephen

      Check your scheme by-laws to see if there is anything explicitly discouraging the process. If you want to instigate a by-law breach then you need to find what by-law is being breached.

      Next speak with your upstairs neighbour. Ask them if they could please stop doing it. Be courteous and direct. Do not lose your temper.

      Keep a log of dates and times that it happens and of any steps you take to resolve the issue. It will make a difference if at any time you decide to take further action.

      If the problem persists write to your committee and ask that it be stopped.

      From there things are getting more complex and you need to look at making an Adjudication application.

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