What can a Body Corporate Manager or Committee do if they're being bombarded by voluminous nuisance emailWhen lot owners bombard the body corporate managers, and the committee with ‘nuisance’ emails, it makes it difficult for the body corporate and its representatives to perform its function. 

This article contains the steps that the body corporate can take to prevent such communications. 

Remedies for body corporate managers can vary, depending on whether the body corporate’s by-laws prevent such activity or whether it relies on the Body Corporate and Community Management Act (BCCM Act). 

What’s a Nuisance?

At common law, nuisance is an unlawful and unreasonable interference with an occupier’s use and enjoyment of land or of some right over, or in connection with it: (Hargrave v Goldman (1963) 110 CLR 40). 

Activity that may constitute nuisance may include noxious fumes, dust, noise, vibration, sewerage, or odours, and light – if unreasonable (Norbury v Hogan [2010] QCATA 27). 

Nuisance under the BCCM

Section 167 of the BCCM Act provides that an occupier must not use, or permit the use of, the lot or the common property in a way that causes a nuisance or hazard or interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of another lot or common property. 

Strictly speaking, to establish nuisance under the BCCM Act, a nuisance will need to be a nuisance in relation to occupiers’ property.  Body corporates managers will ordinarily be unable to get relief for a nuisance occupier a under section 167 as they are not occupiers of lots. 

In Tank Tower [2015] QBCCMCmr 322 QCAT the Adjudicator interpreted nuisance under section 167 of the BCCM Act to include where voluminous fax messages that a lot owner sent added to costs and time.  Consequently, orders were made under section 276 of the BCCM Act that directed the occupier to send mail to the managers by post only once per week and would only allow the occupier to call the managers if there was a genuine emergency. 

It is likely that emails may also be the subject of such orders as they are analogous with fax messages in Tank Tower. 

Potential Steps for Body Corporates

Body Corporates may issue those occupiers who send voluminous phone, fax and email messages a Form 11 future contravention notice specifying a breach of 167 or the BCCM Act.  The by-laws should also be reviewed, to ascertain whether there are any provisions within that relate to occupiers’ communications. It most cases,  

If the occupier of a lot continues to breach the By-Laws, then the body corporate may apply for an order from the Magistrates Court or apply for conciliation after taking steps to resolve the dispute between themselves.  In some cases, body corporates may apply to go directly to adjudication for example, where urgent or interim orders are required. 

 

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