This article about common strata issues has been supplied and written by Stephen Raff, CEO of Ace Body Corporate Management.
In my role as founder and CEO of Ace Body Corporate Management over the past 20 years there are three areas of concern, common strata issues, from owners that rise above all else when living in a strata community.
- Parking: “Someone has double parked behind my car and I can’t get out of my property”.
- Pets: “The next door neighbour’s cat is left out during the night and is causing trouble”.
- Noise: “Unit 27 have decided it is a good time for band practice at 1:00am in the morning”.
These are some of the more common phone exchanges between Strata managers and owners living in strata communities. What are some of the options available to owner occupiers and tenants when facing these common strata issues?
Noise: The first option should always be to communicate open and directly with the source of the problem. If your neighbour has suddenly decided to try their hand at carpentry late at night, normally they are not even aware that they have become a nuisance to their neighbours.
The majority of noise complaints can be resolved right at this moment. Be friendly and come prepared with a few alternative options so that all involved can find an agreeable solution. Perhaps the budding carpenter can agree to only use his power tools on Saturday morning when you are already out of the house at tennis practise.
Come to an arrangement that benefits all involved, sometimes you may have to rearrange your schedule slightly to accommodate your neighbour. Remember it is not always just about you when sharing common property! These points will help you overcome the first of the three common strata issues – noise.
Parking: Each state and territory in Australia has something in their Strata Act or Regulations regarding vehicles and parking on common property. It is important when you are moving into a strata community to understand your strata community’s rules or bylaws, these can be different from property to property so it is important to check your specific rules with your strata manager.
Generally, most rules or bylaws in Australia will say something along the lines of an owner or occupier of a lot must not, unless in the case of an emergency, park or leave a motor vehicle in parking spaces situated on common property or allocated for other lots. Vehicles on common property are not to obstruct a driveway, pathway, entrance or exit to a lot or be left in any place than a parking area situated on common property as decreed by the strata community.
Some rules outline that in order to park in designated areas, permission must first be gained from the strata community and in some cases there may be limitations on the time guests can leave there vehicle in a shared area.
For NSW Owners Corporations, take a look at NSW Fair Trading’s page on Strata Parking.
Pets: More than two thirds of Australian households include pets and Australia has the highest rate of pet ownership in the world so naturally pets are a contentious issue in close proximity living.
It is absolutely vital that before purchasing a strata property that you read the relevant bylaws or rules relevant to your property. These bylaws or rules can vary drastically between each property and even more so between each state and territory, so it is important to understand if pets are allowed at your property before purchasing. All residents in the strata community must obey the approved bylaws and rules and these can only be changed via a special resolution or a unanimous vote at a special general meeting of the strata community.
Model bylaws across the country mostly dictate that owners must have written permission from the strata community in order to have a pet in a strata community, however the strata community must not reasonably refuse permission to keep an animal.
You do not need the strata community’s consent to keep a guide dog or hearing dog in all Australian states and territories.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
About Ace Body Corporate Management
Ace Body Corporate Management (Ace) is the largest 100% Australian owned strata management company with franchises and their support staff managing property worth an estimated replacement value of $20 billion. All franchisees are members of Strata Community Australia; the peak national body that looks after the interests of the community by liaising with Government on strata legislative requirements to keep up with industry change.
Ace currently manages over 60,000 strata title units nationwide. Ace proudly fulfils the dual roles of a professional organisation and a leader for industry education and advocacy.