An NSW Lot Owner is wondering how to control the bylaw breach of hanging washing on the balcony.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: Does a strata committee have the authority to exempt a resident from complying with a by-law?
- QUESTION: A lot owner has been told to stop hanging washing and drying clothes on her apartment balcony. What action can the Strata Committee take to impose compliance for breaches?
Question: Does a strata committee have the authority to exempt a resident from complying with a by-law?
A resident has asked the Strata Committee, on somewhat questionable grounds, to exempt the applicant from the Strata by-law banning laundry on balconies.
My question is does a strata committee have the authority to exempt a resident from complying with a by-law passed by the Owners Corporation, or should the issue be decided by the Owners Corporation at a general meeting?
Answer: The strata committee/owners corporation do not have the power to exempt residents from compliance with a by-law on an ad hoc basis.
The strata committee/owners corporation do not have the power to exempt residents from compliance with a by-law on an ad hoc basis. Further, the by-law of the owners corporation overrides any decision of the strata committee.
The owners corporation, theoretically, could amend the washing by-law to specifically exclude the Applicant or repeal the by-law in its entirety, but not otherwise. A by-law is basically a statutory contract that binds, inter alia, all the owners, occupiers and owners corporation and cannot be unilaterally put to one side by the strata committee.
This post appears in Strata News #221.
Question: A lot owner has been told to stop hanging washing and drying clothes on her apartment balcony. What action can the Strata Committee take to impose compliance for breaches?
Strata Bylaw breaches – What action can the Strata Committee take to impose compliance?
We have an NSW lot owner who persistently and repeatedly defies a polite request made on behalf of the owners corporation to comply with and discontinue breaking a standard Strata by-law (in this case By-Law No 14 drying washing on a balcony and in plain view from common property).
Drying of Laundry Items
An owner or occupier of a lot must not, except with the consent in writing of the owners corporation, hang any washing, towel, bedding, clothing or other articles on any part of the parcel in such a way as to be visible from outside the building other than on any lines provided by the owners corporation for the purpose and there only for a reasonable period.
What steps should be taken to make other residents aware that the Strata Committee has made the residents’ case without gaining compliance? Up until now, we have chosen not to “name and shame” individual lot owners for by-law breaches. However, we are faced with one belligerent lot owner who is apparently amplifying her non-compliance in response to being advised to cease her laundry drying practices.
What are the next steps to dissuade lot owners from hanging washing on the balcony? What actions are most appropriate to get a result for our community?
Answer: Issue a notice to comply with the washing on the balcony bylaw and then pursue the matter through NCAT.
The owner is clearly in breach of the by-law, so the next steps would be:
- Pass a resolution at a general meeting/strata committee to issue a notice to comply in the form approved to the offending owner (a resolution is not required if that function has been delegated to your strata manager)
- If the offending owner persists in the washing breaches, then the owners corporation may make an application to NCAT to impose a monetary penalty
- If the person breaches again within 12 months of NCAT having imposed a monetary penalty, then NCAT has the power to double the usual monetary penalty
Alternatively, you may wish to obtain Orders from NCAT that the owner cease and desist in the offending behaviour, though Mediation would first be required to be attempted.
Breach of Orders carries higher penalties than breach of by-laws.
This post appears in Strata News #221.
Have a question about drying clothes on the apartment balcony or something to add to the article? What has worked in your building? Is washing on the balcony tolerated? Leave a comment below.
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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.
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.
Are you not sure about some of the strata terms used in this article? Take a look at our NSW Strata Glossary to help with your understanding.