By Jane Wilson – Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management
Downsizers and new tenants of community title complexes should familiarise themselves with body corporate by-laws to avoid any foreseeable issues before signing on the bottom line.
There are generic by-laws that can be adopted by body corporate complexes covering noise limitations, vehicle obstruction, damage to common property and the like.
However, each body corporate makes its own decision about the by-laws it adopts.
That is why new tenants or new owners should fully understand and respect the by-laws of their community title complex when moving in.
It is not unusual for tenants to lodge a dispute with the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM) about feeling bullied or harassed by a body corporate for contravening a clearly defined by-law.
For any new tenant or downsizer, being across the by-laws could alleviate any friction and head off any clashes.
Keep in mind, there are no such things as ‘house rules’, only by-laws which are ratified at a general meeting and registered with Titles Queensland.
To find out what by-laws apply to your complex you can contact Titles Queensland.
One of the Big Five complaints filed with the BCCM is parking issues and many involve visitor parking spaces.
An example of a potential issue arising is when three friends get together – all first-time renters – to lease a unit, but it only has one parking space and yet they all have a vehicle.
Where are they going to park their three cars?
The by-laws will explain how a body corporate regulates parking on common property.
A body corporate cannot give you permission to park in a visitor parking space which is generally part of a development application approved by the council.
However, the by-laws may allow the committee discretion to grant approval for you to park on the common property.
It has been a similar issue with people downsizing their property but not their possessions and still wanting two cars and a campervan for a one-vehicle community title unit.
They will need to look at the by-laws to determine if the common property or their lot can accommodate their vehicles or any other property.
For instance, pets may be acceptable, but there may be a by-law that pets cannot travel in an elevator that is occupied unless approval is gained from the person or persons in the lift.
There may be restrictions on pets entering a pool area.
Never take for granted that you can do something, such as parking in an undesignated area, even if you think you are not ‘hurting’ anyone.
You also need to take reasonable steps to prevent guests from contravening by-laws.
By-laws regulate behaviours both inside and outside of your lot. If by-laws are not adhered to, the body corporate may act against you or the person in breach of the by-law.
This could involve the BCCM office or enforcement action in the Magistrates Court.