This article about the best way to solve resident parking problems in your NSW apartment building has been supplied by Karina Heinz, Progressive Strata Services with contributions from our strata audience.
Question: My apartment building is solving parking problems by enforcing the rules. I’m happy to get this sorted, however, one of the strata community members uses the visitor parking whenever they want.
We are a block of around 100 units on the Central Coast of NSW.
The strata community has gone on the attack of visitors parking, enforcing one lot one car space. They have been placing stickers on car windows and using surveillance cameras to see whose car is coming into the car park.
I have no problem with this and look forward to us solving our parking problems. However, one of the strata community members has two cars and uses the visitor parking whenever they want. I feel this is totally unacceptable.
Answer: Enquire, not accuse, first.
I suggest you first write to your agent (given the size I am sure you have one) and raise this issue from the following perspective of the strata law:
- We welcome the committee pursuing those who are breaching the parking on common property bylaws
- It seems from our observations that the rules are not being equally applied as one of the committee is also parking illegally. Can you please advise why they are being treated differently.
Depending on the answer received, you may wish to refer to one or both of the following pieces of legislation:
This part of Schedule 2 regarding committee meetings – 18 Disclosure of pecuniary interests
- a member of a strata committee has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered or about to be considered at a meeting, and
- the interest appears to raise a conflict with the proper performance of the member’s duties in relation to the consideration of the matter, the member must, as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the strata committee.
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.
- A disclosure by a member at a meeting of the strata committee that the member:
- is a member, or is in the employment, of a specified corporation or other body, or
- is a partner, or is in the employment, of a specified person, or
- has some other specified interest relating to a specified corporation or other body or to a specified person, is a sufficient disclosure of the nature of the interest in any matter relating to that corporation or other body or to that person which may arise after the date of the disclosure and which is required to be disclosed under subclause (1).
- Particulars of any disclosure made under this clause must be recorded by the strata committee in a book kept for the purpose and that book must be open at all reasonable hours to inspection by any person on payment of the fee determined by the strata committee.
- After a member has disclosed the nature of an interest in any matter, the member must not, unless the strata committee otherwise determines:
- be present during any deliberation of the strata committee with respect to the matter, or
- take part in any decision of the strata committee with respect to the matter.
- For the purposes of the making of a determination by the strata committee under subclause (4), a member who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter to which the disclosure relates must not:
- be present during any deliberation of the strata committee for the purpose of making the determination, or
- take part in the making by the strata committee of the determination.
- A contravention of this clause does not invalidate any decision of the strata committee.
- Without limiting subclause (1), a person has an indirect pecuniary interest in a matter if a person connected with the person has a direct interest in the matter.
This is because they are receiving a benefit. If they are gaining an advantage by parking and it has been gained without payment.
STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 2015 – SECT 37
It is the duty of each member of a strata committee of an owners corporation to carry out his or her functions for the benefit, so far as practicable, of the owners corporation and with due care and diligence.
Note: Section 260 provides protection from personal liability for members of strata committees who act in good faith.
This is in the Strata Act itself. Note the reference to S260. So the person can only rely on the protection if they are acting in good faith. Such current abuse of power (if that is what it turns out to be) while attempting to solving the parking problems at the apartment building may mean they are to afford that protection and thus if referred to NCAT, would need to defend themselves.
Everything hinges on the initial enquiry and reply as there may be an argument for instance that it is a gratuity for their work on the committee. However, as you can see, if this is what they advise then it needs to be raised/covered at the AGM.
An owners corporation may pay to a person who is an officer of the owners corporation or another member of the strata committee of the owners corporation an amount determined by the owners corporation at an annual general meeting in recognition of services performed by the person for the owners corporation in the period since the last annual general meeting.
So you should enquire, not accuse, first and then see if your concern is resolved or it raises yet a further query. It’s quite possible the agent is not aware of the situation and so will need to address it with the committee and offender.
This post appears in Strata News #281.
Question: To solve parking problems in our apartment building how do we identify the vehicle owner? Can we require residents to provide their vehicle details?
A potential issue with enforcing strata by-laws relating to parking that is of concern to the strata committee of which I am a member is identifying the owner of a vehicle not complying with parking by-laws.
Can the Owners Corporation/Strata Committee require all residents to provide ownership details of their vehicles? If a parking non-compliance case is taken to the NCAT, can the Tribunal identify the owner from official records?
Our strata scheme does not have a building manager on the premises and we still use only keys for entry.
Answer: The scheme can pass a bylaw requiring an owner/agent to submit this information within 7 days of moving in/leasing the property or obtaining a new vehicle.
The legislation can be difficult in this area. They provide the scheme with the obligation to manage the common property but not necessarily all the tools.
The police can only deal in criminal matters and therefore cannot provide this personal information. Section 22 of the Strata Scheme’s Management Act 2015 – which is a regulated form as to the required content for notice of information to be placed on the strata roll – does not require an owner or their agent to provide this information. To overcome this, the scheme can pass a bylaw requiring an owner/agent to submit this information within 7 days of moving in/leasing the property or obtaining a new vehicle.
An application to NCAT requires that you name the applicant whom you require to do something (or desist). As there is no requirement under the legislation for the owner to advise the tenant’s registration, the Member would not have the power to make such an order. They can only issue orders for breaches of legislation or of your bylaws. Once you have the above bylaw, however, you could make an application to NCAT against the owner if they fail to do as your bylaw states.
An alternative may be to engage with your local Council. Under the 2015 legislation, there is the option that they can assist by policing these issues, however, this is an opt-in for them, not a service they are required to provide. In this respect, no registration information would be required. They deal with it just like a parking offence on the street. See this recent article NSW Case Study: Is your illegal parking notice just an empty threat?
This post appears in Strata News #262.
What is the best way to solve resident parking problems in an apartment building?
We received a comment on one of our other Parking posts a few days ago. Rather than have one of our fabulous contributors offer a reply, I thought we’d try something new and throw the question out to our Community. We are asking you: our residents, lot owners, strata managers, building managers, strata lawyers and other members of our community. How do you solve the parking problems? What works in your building?
Comment from Ginny Lowndes:
It was suggested that owner/s & occupiers/new renter/s provide their plate/s & mobile phone number/s to the NSW strata managers so that the Committee was able to identify a rogue car parker quickly & contact them or remove an unauthorized parker. Was told it couldn’t be done. As it stands the Committee has no way of identifying who owns what cars to take any action at all.
The NSW law is nothing but waffle without identification of who owns the cars.
All the car parking spaces have been turned into unauthorized garages that store junk & owners/occupiers want to park their 2-3 cars in any space on the common area as their “right”. That is approximately 100+ cars a day.
Anyone else got any clues as to what to do about it?
Update: We received this answer in the comment section below from Philip Colless, a building manager from Pyrmont. We’ve decided to include the response in the main article, so the information does not get lost as it gets pushed down the comments list:
I am a building manager for a Pyrmont apartment complex with 8 visitor spaces. Despite all 76 apartments having one or two lock garages each, preventing residents from parking in visitors, or visitors parking too long requires daily attention.
To know what’s going on, I keep a register with car rego’s of all residents and known visitors.
I get this information from periodic walkarounds of the private garages, recording car details.
If there is a car I don’t know that overstays in visitors, I get this information by reviewing the CCTV combined with our access control system.
Pass bylaws and signage in your visitor parking area that sets out time limits and who is eligible (or not) to park there. This building allows residents to park in visitors for 15 minutes to “drop off” (which invites abuse of the privilege. I recommend residents never be allowed to park in visitors, over the years having heard every conceivable excuse why they stayed more than 15 minutes)
Pass another bylaw giving the OC power to disable or restrict access devices (fobs and remotes) that are used to facilitate breach of a bylaw.
When transgression starts:
- Pre-prepared notice on car windscreen
- Letter from strata manager to resident owner or agent & tenant and a warning sticker on the car window.
- Final letter warning legal consequences (NCAT fine) and that fob/remote will be disabled without further notice if there is a further breach.
- Follow through on warning and disable remote. It will only be reinstated at the pleasure of the strata committee.
This really works. Instant consequences. And going to NCAT is time consuming and costs the owners corporation money.
These steps may not be applicable to all buildings. Much depends on the level of on site security equipment. There is a fair bit of work required to put all this in place, but the results are worth it.
This post appears in Strata News #250.
Don’t miss the rest of the comments below. There are some great ideas on ways to solve parking problems in your apartment building.
- NSW: Q&A Adequate ByLaw to Combat Abuse of Visitor Parking Spaces
- NSW: Can parking offenders be towed from common property?
- NSW: 5 Most Useful By-laws: 3. Parking By-Law
- NSW: Q&A Disabled Parking in Apartments – Can I Use the parking space?
Can you relate to this situation? Is something similar happening at your scheme? What have you tried to solve your building’s parking problems? What worked? What didn’t work? Let us know below in the comment section.