This ACT lot owner would like to know if strata funds should be used to improve the front verge in the ACT. Christopher Kerin, Kerin Benson Lawyers provides the following information.
Question: Should strata funds be used to improve the front verge especially as there was no formal motion presented at the AGM about this expenditure for work outside of the Strata Plan?
I have a question about strata funds being used for beautification works on a front verge, to prevent vehicles parking & to protect services pits.
A discussion about plantings on the front verge was held at a meeting following this year’s AGM. The minutes of the AGM have no record of the discussion.
The Executive Committee indicated that proposals could be submitted by owners & these would be circulated for owners comments etc. This did not occur, and we know a couple of owners submitted alternative solutions.
We have been informed via a newsletter that planting works will be undertaken on the verge which is ACT property. Expenses are to be funded from our Owners Corporation budget.
Does the strata management/Executive Committee have the authority to spend strata funds on works that are not within our building’s Strata Plan? We believe they don’t have this authority as there was no formal motion presented at the AGM about this expenditure for work outside of the Units Plan, as the boundary finishes prior to the footpath/verge. The newsletter states owners agreed, however, no vote was taken.
I’d appreciate advice as we’re concerned that this expenditure could blow out with ongoing maintenance costs, as well as not being a practical solution for preventing vehicles parking on the verge.
Answer: In short, the owners corporation would be acting ultra vires in spending money on the verge.
The nature strip is public unleased land and is governed by the Public Unleased Land Act 2013 (ACT). Consequently, while it may be the custom in the ACT that adjacent land owners maintain their nature strips (to a degree the owners see fit), the owners corporation has no legal obligation to maintain the nature strip.
Indeed, section 19 of the Public Unleased Land Act 2013 requires an application to be lodged if work is to be done to the nature strip.
I would need to know more about the specifics to advise on the particulars and would also need to be paid for that advice. However, in short, the owners corporation would be acting ultra vires in spending money on the verge.
For more on the powers of the owners corporation, I suggest you purchase my book – Kerin Benson Lawyers Guide to ACT Strata Law (see below for the link to the text).
This post appears in Strata News #311.
Have a question about funding improvements to the front very/nature strip in ACT or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
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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.