What to do with abandoned goods on a strata property
Considering your neighbours in the small things can go a long way in making a big difference to the quality of community living, so it goes without saying that looking after shared spaces on common property includes not dumping unwanted goods in a non-designated area.
Four ways to manage abandoned goods on a strata property are covered in detail below:
1. Take responsibility for your own goods
Being sensitive to your neighbour’s enjoyment of their property is crucial to strata living. Leaving your items in common areas can result in them being lost, stolen or thrown away. You could also be breaching the by-laws, so ensure you’re on top of where you can and can’t store items.
If you don’t act responsibly with rubbish disposal, your strata committee can take action on behalf of the owners corporation. Your committee has certain rights and responsibilities to dispose of goods left on common property.
2. Dispose your rubbish in the right way
In strata properties, there are usually designated areas for proper disposal of garbage. Ensure you place rubbish in the correctly designed bins. Don’t leave rubbish items, such as oversized packaging, outside of the bins as they won’t be taken away by council.
3. Schedule a bulky goods clean up with your local council
If you’re looking to dispose of old furniture or other large household items, schedule a collection with your local council, or if the items are in good working order and can be reused by someone else, take them to your local charity shop first and ask if they wish to accept the donation.
Some local councils allow multi-dwelling units to book collections each year for the whole block or allow residents to book individual collection services. Think about what is right for your strata scheme. If it is heavily tenanted with people moving in and out regularly, it’s probably best to keep it to individual collection services to avoid dumping on common property. If you are in a small block, or mostly owner-occupied, it might be more efficient to book collections on behalf of the whole block.
4. Disposing of abandoned goods
In New South Wales
Before a strata committee can do anything with abandoned goods, a disposal notice needs to be placed near or on the item so that the owners are aware of intent of disposal at least five days in advance. This notice should be clearly outlined on a sheet of paper no smaller than an A4 size. It should describe the goods, the date and time the notice was issued and include the contact details of the person delegated to dispose the items such as the building manager, strata manager, or committee member.
If the notice has not been adhered to in the timeframe provided, your strata committee can dispose of items on common property as they see fit. This includes throwing them away, giving them to charity, or selling them. If the goods are sold, both the owners corporation and the buyer are entitled to the proceeds from the sale and monies may be paid into the administrative fund.
The strata committee should maintain a record of the goods sold and retain them on file for at least a year from the sale. All relevant details such as what items were sold, when, where and by who needs to be captured.
Model By-law 7 of Schedule 4 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act states that an occupier must not leave rubbish or other material on common property in a way or place likely to interfere with the enjoyment of the common property by someone else. However, unlike NSW laws, there are no procedures under the Act that outlines what the committee can do to remove abandoned goods of common property.
Under the model rules, Model rule 1.2 prohibits the storage of flammable liquids and dangerous substances, while rule 4.1 prevents an occupier to obstruct the lawful use and enjoyment of common property. Like QLD laws, there are no procedures under the Act that outlines what the procedures the committee can do to remove abandoned goods of common property.
If you’d like to find out more on removing abandoned goods and dealing with your neighbours, download our FREE Community Living guide on managing disputes. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.