An NSW Lot Owner is concerned about resident safety and wondering how best to deal with a violent visitor to their strata building. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following response.
Question: A regular visitor to our building has exhibited violent behaviour to lot owners and we are concerned about resident safety. How do we proceed to protect neighbouring lot owners?
We have had two recent incidents of the partner of an owner (who happens to also be on the Strata Committee) exhibiting violent behaviour on our property.
This behaviour included verbal abuse and angry physical behaviour towards the lot owner and other residents.
The police have been called on both times, but have advised there is not much they can do.
The Strata Committee have sent a letter to the owner advising of breach of SCHEDULE 3 – Model by-laws for residential strata schemes:
7 Behaviour of owners, occupiers and invitees
(1) An owner or occupier of a lot, or any invitee of an owner or occupier of a lot, when on common property must be adequately clothed and must not use language or behave in a manner likely to cause offence or embarrassment to the owner or occupier of another lot or to any person lawfully using common property.
(2) An owner or occupier of a lot must take all reasonable steps to ensure that invitees of the owner or occupier:
(a) do not behave in a manner likely to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of the owner or occupier of another lot or any person lawfully using common property, and
(b) without limiting paragraph (a), that invitees comply with clause (1).
The owner is not admitting any wrongdoing by their partner. We do not have security doors on our building and anyone can access our apartment doors. However, we suspect that even if we got external security, the owner would not prevent their partner from accessing the building.
I am concerned about resident safety. What are our options going forward? Our goal is to protect our residents from this person and maintain a safe environment in our building. I am concerned about resident safety.
Our strata manager has advised “Regarding strata powers, sending a breach of bylaw letter would be the start, should breaches continue, send a second one. If continue after that, hold a strata committee meeting to take the matter to NCAT, where the owner of the lot can have fines imposed.” Is that all we can do? The fines are not likely to improve the situation around resident safety.
There is some talk of acquiring an AVO to prevent the person from coming on our premises. Is this a possible option for a Strata building?
Thank you! I have no idea where to start on this one or what avenues to pursue.
Answer: It seems your only avenue would be to apply for an APVO – not APO.
Though we are not criminal lawyers, it seems your only avenue would be to apply for an APVO (this is an Apprehended Personal Violence Order – not AVO) because you do not have a personal relationship with the visitor.
These can be taken out against neighbours, as in your case. You would still need to report the incident to the police who might decide to apply for the APVO on your behalf. Should they not be inclined to do so, you may contact your local court and make a private/personal application. In the case of the latter option, you should seek legal advice.
This post appears in Strata News #227.
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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.