A Qld lot owner asks whether residents can be confined to their own floors during the COVID-19 lockdown. Chris Irons, Hynes Legal provides the following response. This information was correct at time of publishing.
Question: During the COVID-19 lockdown, can Body Corporate request residents keep to their own floor unless there is some compelling reason to do otherwise?
I have a question regarding building access during this time of Social distancing and lockdown.
Can the Body Corporate send a request to all residents asking them to follow social distancing rules by keeping to their own buildings and their own floors unless there is some compelling reason to do otherwise?
Answer: If the body corporate proposes to restrict access to common property, it needs to follow proper decision-making processes.
There is a world of difference between ‘requesting’ someone do something and ‘compelling’ or ‘ordering’ them to do something, or suggesting that it is an order. So the body corporate is perfectly entitled to ‘request’ residents to do what you describe. Similarly, you can ‘request’ these kinds of things if you want.
Access to different parts of your building or different floors may be a slightly different story. The body corporate is responsible for maintaining common property and if it proposes to restrict access to common property, it needs to follow proper decision-making processes.
Again though, it’s important to be clear what we’re talking about – if it’s a communication from the body corporate with helpful suggestions about preventing the spread of COVID-19, including restricting movement within the building, then not only is that fine, it’s actually pretty admirable and socially responsible. If it’s a communication saying you’re no longer allowed to access a part of the building that you are usually able to access, that might be a very different story.
More to the point, if you’re following social distancing or self-isolation directives of government during this time, I’m not sure why you would be wanting to travel to other floors or parts of the building anyway unless it falls within the ‘essential’ category.
This post appears in Strata News #339.
Have a question about residents being confined during the COVID-19 lockdown or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
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