This ACT lot owner would like to know the difference between house rules, rules and bylaws in ACT strata. Christopher Kerin, Kerin Benson Lawyers provides the following information.
Question: Can you tell me the difference between rules, house rules and bylaws in ACT strata? Which takes precedence? Can they be combined? How enforceable are each of these?
Our complex has a set of rules endorsed at its first AGM some 12 years ago and a set of house rules endorsed at an AGM some 4 years ago. What is the difference?
These two are very different. The rules refer to issues such as the use of the units, renovations, pets etc. The house rules cover things like no washing on balconies, parking and noise.
Which takes precedence? Can they be combined? How enforceable are each of these documents?
Answer: In addition to Owners Corporation rules, some owners corporations may establish other rules or policies, sometimes referred to as house rules, which explain how the owners corporation rules will be interpreted.
I explain the difference between rules and house rules in section 3.12 of my book.
3.12 House Rules:
In addition to Owners Corporation rules, some owners corporations may establish other rules or policies, sometimes referred to as house rules, which explain how the owners corporation rules will be interpreted.
Although these house rules do not form part of the owners corporation rules and are not enforceable under the UTMA, they do provide owners and occupants with an outline of how decisions will be made by the executive committee and how the rules will be enforced by the owners corporation.
Occasionally, the owners corporation will pass a special resolution adding house rules to its registered rules and the strata manager should register these house rules at the Lands Titles Office as if they were rules. If this is done, the house rules will form part of the owners corporation rules and be enforceable.
Owners corporations need to keep the house rules up to date to ensure new owners and occupiers receive copies of the house rules. Once in place, the owners corporation should follow them as, if they are not followed, ACAT may apply an administrative law remedy against the owners corporation for failing to follow them.
Administrative law remedies are the tools available to a person who claims they have suffered an injustice following a government decision (eg where the government decision was based on bias or denial of natural justice) which may enable that person to appeal and have the governmental decision changed.
The Land Titles Office does not check rules when they are registered and therefore it is entirely possible that there are inconsistencies between rules and house rules which would need to be resolved (if both are registered).
By-laws is the terminology used under the NSW legislation and has no application in the ACT.
This post appears in Strata News #296.
Have a question about house rules in ACT or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- ACT: Q&A Commercial Use of Common Property
- ACT: Q&A Proxy Votes, Absentee Votes and the Quorum
- ACT: Q&A Is there a Code of Behaviour for Difficult Lot Owners?
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
After more detailed information dealing with Strata Law in the ACT? Chris Kerin’s Guide to ACT Strata Law is now available.