A NSW Lot Owner is wondering whether garages can be used exclusively for the storage of items. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following responses.
Question: A Lot Owner uses their garage for storage and parks their car on the street. The garage is below my apartment and they are constantly removing items and opening and closing the door. Is this nuisance?
The Strata Complex where I reside has individual garages for each apartment. Unfortunately, there’s one Lot Owner who has decided that they’re ‘entitled’ to store all their personal effects and household items in the garage and leave their motor vehicle parked on the street.
The issue I have with this is that their garage is directly below my apartment. And the Lot Owner in question seems to have a habit of consistently (every day) opening and closing their garage door at all hours. This is now becoming rather annoying and a nuisance when I’m trying to sleep. I would have thought that this may be a breach of the Owners Corporation By-Laws concerning ‘noise’.
Moreover, according to the definition of a ‘garage’ as supplied by the many dictionaries that are available online, the consensus is that a garage is defined as:
- A building for housing a motor vehicle or vehicles;
- A shelter or repair shop for automotive vehicles;
- A garage is a building in which you keep a car.
None of the dictionaries mentions that a garage is a storage facility for any other items other than a car.
I would like guidance on what can be done and if they are breaching any law/s.
Answer: Check your by-laws to determine if you have a “Storage” By-law which basically states that only motor or other vehicles may be stored in a garage.
Check your by-laws to determine if you have a “Storage” By-law which basically states that only motor or other vehicles may be stored in a garage and that other household or other items may not. If the items are visible from outside the garage, they may be in breach of the In-Keeping with the appearance of the building by-law. It may be that the actions of the garage owner constitute “nuisance” under Section 153 of the Schemes Management Act, 2015 (NSW).
You should also check your strata plan and the common property certificate of title because garages are considered “utility lots” under the legislation. From that definition, the garage owner may not be in breach:
- “utility lot” means a lot designed to be used primarily for storage or accommodation of boats, motor vehicles or goods and not for human occupation as a residence, office, shop or the like.
This post appears in Strata News #248.
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These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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