24 Feb Living in Strata – Your Obligations
Living in a strata community brings with it certain obligations, and not only for the lot owner; tenants are also bound to observe a set of basic rules.
All Owners Corporations (formerly known as body corporates) have rules for the control, management, use or enjoyment of common property and lots. These rules cover day-to-day issues such as parking, pets and noise.
Every Owners Corporation will have, as a minimum, the Model Rules. Larger, more complex building will often also have their own Special Rules which must be registered with Land Victoria to be enforceable. If your Owners Corporation does not make its own rules, a set of model rules outlined in the Owners Corporations Act 2006 applies.
As a lot owner who rents out their unit it is important that your property manager is aware that every new tenant must be given a copy of the Model Rules or Special Rules if applicable.
So what makes up the rules of an Owners Corporation? As a reference, here are the Consumer Affairs Victoria Model Rules for Owners Corporations;
MODEL RULES FOR AN OWNERS CORPORATION
1 Health, safety and security
1.1 Health, safety and security of lot owners, occupiers of lots and others
A lot owner or occupier must not use the lot, or permit it to be used, so as to cause a hazard to the health, safety and security of an owner, occupier, or user of another lot.
1.2 Storage of flammable liquids and other dangerous substances and materials
(1) Except with the approval in writing of the owners corporation, an owner or occupier of a lot must not use or store on the lot or on the common property any flammable chemical, liquid or gas or other flammable material.
(2) This rule does not apply to—
(a) chemicals, liquids, gases or other material used or intended to be used for domestic purposes, or;
(b) any chemical, liquid, gas or other material in a fuel tank of a motor vehicle or internal combustion engine.
1.3 Waste disposal
An owner or occupier must ensure that the disposal of garbage or waste does not adversely affect the health, hygiene or comfort of the occupiers or users of other lots.
2 Management and administration
2.1 Metering of services and apportionment of costs of services
(1) The owners corporation must not seek payment or reimbursement for a cost or charge from a lot owner or occupier that is more than the amount that the supplier would have charged the lot owner or occupier for the same goods or services.
(2) If a supplier has issued an account to the owners corporation, the owners corporation cannot recover from the lot owner or occupier an amount which includes any amount that is able to be claimed as a concession or rebate by or on behalf of the lot owner or occupier from the relevant supplier.
(3) Subrule (2) does not apply if the concession or rebate—
(a) must be claimed by the lot owner or occupier and the owners corporation has given the lot owner or occupier an opportunity to claim it and the lot owner or occupier has not done so by the payment date set by the relevant supplier; or
(b) is paid directly to the lot owner or occupier as a refund.
3 Use of common property
3.1 Use of common property
(1) An owner or occupier of a lot must not obstruct the lawful use and enjoyment of the common property by any other person entitled to use the common property.
(2) An owner or occupier of a lot must not, without the written approval of the owners corporation, use for his or her own purposes as a garden any portion of the common property.
(3) An approval under subrule (2) may state a period for which the approval is granted.
(4) If the owners corporation has resolved that an animal is a danger or is causing a nuisance to the common property, it must give reasonable notice of this resolution to the owner or occupier who is keeping the animal.
(5) An owner or occupier of a lot who is keeping an animal that is the subject of a notice under subrule (4) must remove that animal.
(6) Subrules (4) and (5) do not apply to an animal that assists a person with an impairment or disability.
3.2 Vehicles and parking on common property
An owner or occupier of a lot must not, unless in the case of an emergency, park or leave a motor vehicle or other vehicle or permit a motor vehicle or other vehicle—
(a) to be parked or left in parking spaces situated on common property and allocated for other lots; or
(b) on the common property so as to obstruct a driveway, pathway, entrance or exit to a lot; or
(c) in any place other than a parking area situated on common property specified for that purpose by the owners corporation.
3.3 Damage to common property
(1) An owner or occupier of a lot must not damage or alter the common property without the written approval of the owners corporation.
(2) An owner or occupier of a lot must not damage or alter a structure that forms part of the common property without the written approval of the owners corporation.
(3) An approval under subrule (1) or (2) may state a period for which the approval is granted, and may specify the works and conditions to which the approval is subject.
(4) An owner or person authorised by an owner may install a locking or safety device to protect the lot against intruders, or a screen or barrier to prevent entry of animals or insects, if the device, screen or barrier is soundly built and is consistent with the colour, style and materials of the building.
(5) The owner or person referred to in subrule (4) must keep any device, screen or barrier installed in good order and repair.
4.1 Change of use of lots
An owner or occupier of a lot must give written notification to the owners corporation if the owner or occupier changes the existing use of the lot in a way that will affect the insurance premiums for the owners corporation.
If the change of use results in a hazardous activity being carried out on the lot, or results in the lot being used for commercial or industrial purposes rather than residential purposes.
5 Behaviour of persons
5.1 Behaviour of owners, occupiers and invitees on common property
An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that guests of the owner or occupier do not behave in a manner likely to unreasonably interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property.
5.2 Noise and other nuisance control
(1) An owner or occupier of a lot, or a guest of an owner or occupier, must not unreasonably create any noise likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of any other person entitled to use the common property.
(2) Subrule (1) does not apply to the making of a noise if the owners corporation has given written permission for the noise to be made.
6 Dispute resolution
(1) The grievance procedure set out in this rule applies to disputes involving a lot owner, manager, or an occupier or the owners corporation.
(2) The party making the complaint must prepare a written statement in the approved form.
(3) If there is a grievance committee of the owners corporation, it must be notified of the dispute by the complainant.
(4) If there is no grievance committee, the owners corporation must be notified of any dispute by the complainant, regardless of whether the owners corporation is an immediate party to the dispute.
(5) The parties to the dispute must meet and discuss the matter in dispute, along with either the grievance committee or the owners corporation, within 14 working days after the dispute comes to the attention of all the parties.
(6) A party to the dispute may appoint a person to act or appear on his or her behalf at the meeting.
(7) If the dispute is not resolved, the grievance committee or owners corporation must notify each party of his or her right to take further action under Part 10 of the Owners Corporations Act 2006.
(8) This process is separate from and does not limit any further action under Part 10 of the Owners Corporations Act 2006.