This article concerning what we can and can’t do with our property without consent has been supplied by Bailey Compton, Leverage Group.
Properties are zoned to outline three things;
- What we can do with our property without consent;
- What consent we need from Council to do there; and
- What we are prohibited from doing.
In residential zoning, there is one thing we can do from our dwelling without consent. That is, conduct a home occupation. This means that we can conduct business from our home with only one other employee, provided the business is not industrial.
A Strata Manager advised me that he was the manager of a building in the Eastern Suburbs. Complaints were bought to the strata committee and his attention, that one of the occupants of the building may be using their apartment as a brothel. Advertisements had been found that the occupant was offering her body as a service to the community. In other words, she was running a brothel from her apartment.
These days, if you want to run a brothel you need to have development approval and obtain a license. A brothel is where a person is hiring out other people’s bodies for the community benefit. This does not include hiring yourself out.
The committee was concerned that they could not issue a cease and desist notice because they had no real evidence. To deal with a breach of a by-law, the owners corporation must be satisfied that a by-law has been breached. No evidence was available, just suspicion.
This was, however, a highly entrepreneurial committee. A motion was moved that if any person wished to utilise the service as a means of obtaining evidence, they would refund the occupant’s expenses. In other words, if any of the men in the building sought the lady’s services, the gent would need to put the money up first, but they would be refunded by the strata committee. The strata scheme was essentially setting up its own informant.
What did the Council say?
No-one felt comfortable with this position and some investigations were undertaken. I had noted to them that I thought it could be a home business and they might need to check at the Council. Upon ringing the Council, the Council said it was perfectly a permitted home occupation if no other persons were employed. The council believed that an escort agency operating from home fell within the parameters of the zoning.
This sent a shockwave through the strata committee. An urgent strata committee meeting was called to revoke the motion about the refund. The good news, they revoked the motion in time before someone took advantage of the refund motion. More colloquially put, this was the motion to stop motion.
This post appears in Strata News #267.
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