Body Corporate by-laws need enforcing and sometimes that means going to adjudication through the Queensland Body Corporate and Community Management Commissioner’s Office.
In September this year, the Helensvale Villas Body Corporate received an adjudication order in their favour regarding a resident who persistently parked their car on common property car parks.
Each property in this Scheme has a single garage, but like many Australians, occupiers often have more than one vehicle and some garages are being used for things other than the parking of cars.
This resulted in several residents parking on common property car parks for much longer than the permitted 30 minutes for loading and unloading, including being parked there overnight.
This caused problems for residents at Helensvale Villas in getting around parked vehicles and with the Scheme’s visitor car parking bays being occupied or blocked by residents’ cars.
Wrong time, wrong place
Cars parked in the wrong place, and causing hazards to others, caused friction in the community.
The matter was compounded because it was perceived that ‘everyone’ was doing it.
The Body Corporate has a by-law that regulates the use of common property car parks and the residents’ use of these car parks as described above constituted breaches of this by-law.
The Body Corporate committee determined that the by-law on parking needed to be enforced consistently. One particular resident was identified as a serial offender.
In January 2020, the committee asked the Body Corporate Manager to write to the occupant to give notice.
When the breach continued, they issued a Form 11 Future Contravention Notice to the resident in breach of the by-law.
This notice is used if the committee has reasonable grounds that the resident has contravened the by-law and is likely to repeat the contravention.
The notice must state: the Body Corporate believes the person is contravening a by-law; the by-law the Body Corporate believes is being contravened; details sufficient to identify the contravention; the period within which the person must remedy the contravention; and that if the person does not comply with the notice the Body Corporate may, without further notice, lodge a Dispute Resolution Application in the Body Corporate Commissioner’s office or start proceedings in the Magistrates Court or make a dispute resolution application.
The next step – conciliation
The resident did not respond to the notice and continued parking his car on common property.
In October 2020, the matter went through the conciliation process and an agreement was believed reached.
However, the offending resident still parked their car where it should not have been, so the matter was then escalated to adjudication.
In the Adjudicator’s order, it was noted the driver of this car goes in and out of the complex multiple times every day and may have thought that because he has moved his car, he was entitled to leave it where he pulls up.
This was not the case.
Fast forward to September 2021.
The Adjudicator found in favour of the Helensvale Villas Body Corporate and ordered the resident not to park any vehicle in their possession or control in allocated visitor car parking spaces, or other common property in contravention of the Body Corporate by-laws.
So, what happens next?
If the breach continues, the order can be enforced in the Magistrates Court and result in a fine of up to $2,757.00.
There are a number of lessons to be learned in this adjudication.
- The Body Corporate must have the will to enforce the scheme’s by-laws. The by-laws are there to help reduce friction between neighbours, so everyone has the peaceful enjoyment of their property.
- The by-laws must be enforceable. How long has it been since your Community Management Scheme by-laws were reviewed? You might be surprised that some by-laws are not enforceable, superseded by new legislation or are not applicable to your scheme.
- Body Corporate communities have a set process to follow to enforce their by-laws. Make sure you know the steps and be prepared to commit to the enforcement in the long term.