This QLD article is about dispute resolution proceedings and bylaw breach notices.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: Should details of breach notices (including serious breaches) be circulated to all unit owners either during the year or formally at the AGM?
- QUESTION: A lot owner breaches multiple bylaws after not receiving what she sees as a desirable outcome on a fence issue. What is the best way to handle this?
- QUESTION: If Dispute Resolution proceedings are necessary as self resolution has not been successful against a rental tenant for by-law contraventions, can the landlord be required to pay for the costs of the application?
Question: Should details of breach notices (including serious breaches) be circulated to all unit owners either during the year or formally at the AGM?
Answer: If you had a recalcitrant owner and felt their behaviour may be altered by a more public recording of the notice this could be a reasonable strategy.
There is no requirement to do this and it wouldn’t be common practice. Once issued, the notices become part of the body corporate records and can be accessed the same as other records.
However, there is nothing to stop you doing this. If you wanted the notices recorded for a more public effect, it might make sense to record them in your committee meetings. Sending them to all owners is a step further still.
Probably not necessary in most instances, but if you had a recalcitrant owner and felt their behaviour may be altered by a more public recording of the notice this could be a reasonable strategy. I’d urge some caution though. The type of owners that don’t respond well to breach notices are also the type that won’t respond well to having those same notices sent to all owners. A judgement call may have to be made rather than having a blanket policy.
This post appears in the December 2021 edition of THE QLD Strata Magazine.
Question: A lot owner breaches multiple bylaws after not receiving what she sees as a desirable outcome on a fence issue. What is the best way to handle this?
I am on the committee of our Body Corporate for our complex of 64 residences. We have various issues regarding parking. Although breach notices have been issued to the owner her defiance in not abiding by the notices have been received by email stating that she has no intention of moving the vehicles – her reply to the notices that went to all residents:
‘That’s our car and it’s staying there. When body corporate pays for our back fence! Then they can ask about car parking.
Until then the carparks are open slather. Bodycorp don’t own the roads.’
The issue with the back fence was that her property and others along that area had no back fence in the first instance. She applied for the Body Corporate to pay for the fence, but our reply was that Body Corporate is only responsible for a half share of repairs to an existing fence. Hence she erected and paid for the fence but now uses that excuse to park up to 4 cars in all 4 spaces around that area near her unit.
She also parks her car across her garage which is full of mechanical parts, a trailer and other paraphernalia.
Answer: The straightforward answer is that you should follow the established procedure for dispute resolution by issuing breach notices and ultimately bringing proceedings against the lot owner.
When a by-law issue is raised with an owner it is fairly common to get a whataboutery response like this. The people who engage in this type of conversation almost always know they are in the wrong and are just looking to deflect the issue away.
Still, it is one thing to know that and another to then bring the matter to resolution.
The straightforward answer is that you should follow the established procedure for dispute resolution by issuing breach notices and ultimately bringing proceedings against the lot owner. See the BCCM website for details about this: Queensland Government: Disputes in a body corporate
However, that process is lengthy and not always satisfying. Body corporate law is not very well set up to deal with people who don’t care much about breaking the by-laws.
You may then have to consider other methods of resolution. Nothing nefarious, but depending on the circumstances some out of the box thinking could be applied. I once managed a site that solved an issue with parking on the common property by adding some very heavy pot plants to the area that was being abused. People stopped parking there and the site became a bit more attractive. More commonly, many sites with parking issues will look at ways of restricting access to the visitor’s spots if they can’t be used properly. This could be by methods such as restricting garage access through a new key system or installing bollards. Yes, there are costs to these kinds of things and they reduce utility for those who do the right thing but if the problem is bad enough you have to consider all the options.
This post appears in Strata News #519.
Question: If Dispute Resolution proceedings are necessary as self resolution has not been successful against a rental tenant for by-law contraventions, can the landlord be required to pay for the costs of the application?
Answer: Your application is against the tenant (occupier) and not the landlord (owner).
No. Firstly, your application is against the tenant (occupier) and not the landlord (owner). The owner may not even be a party to the matter. Secondly, if you are referring to applications in my former Office, then it will be highly likely the matter will go to conciliation in the first instance, where there is no capacity to consider costs. Finally, if you are referring to applications for adjudication, then an adjudicator can only award costs (capped at $2,000) if they dismiss an application that is frivolous, vexatious or misconceived. There is no other general costs power.
Judging by your query, it seems as though you think the landlord is or should be, responsible in some way for the occupier’s actions. Why is that? A body corporate has no involvement in who is selected to be a tenant, so is it perhaps that the landlord has not assisted the committee, or responded, while the by-law enforcement process has been going on? That’s a very different question and might need to be approached from a different angle to one of simply financial penalty.
This post appears in Strata News #516.
Have a question about dispute resolution proceedings or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- QLD: Debt disputes – a case study
- QLD: Mandatory Self Resolution
- QLD: What happens to the money you pay for body corporate fees?
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