Don’t get your neighbour’s tinsel in a tangle over rubbish this holiday season

Don’t get your neighbour’s tinsel in a tangle over rubbish this holiday season

From 14 November until 24 December 2019, it is predicted Australians will spend almost $53 billion in the lead-up to Christmas…generating 30% more household waste!

So, what does the festive-footprint mean for community living? It generally means overflowing garbage rooms and an assortment of things left in common areas, including empty bottles, pool toys, outdoor furniture, loose wrapping paper, portable speakers and stocking fillers strewn around.

Disposing your rubbish correctly and taking care not to abandon your goods and household items on common property is key to enhancing community living throughout the holiday and new year period.Here are tips on your rights and responsibilities as a property owner and occupier when it comes to abandoned items:


Follow your garbage and recycling rules

Make sure you put your bins out and bring them back in if it is your responsibility to do so on your property. Missing a garbage pick-up during a hot Australian holiday season can mean smelly bin rooms, overflowing bins, an increase in flies and possibly rodents, and overly heavy bins which can be hazardous to move. It is also important to follow the recycling rules of your property and council.

Remember, only wrapping that is 100% paper can go in your recycling bins (with traditional clear sticky tape). Metallic wrapping paper with glitter, foil or metallic sticky tape, cannot be recycled and will end up in a landfill.


Be responsible for your 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 worse, thrown away as garbage. You could also be breaching the by-laws or building rules, so ensure you’re on top of what you can do and what is not allowed.


Schedule garbage disposal with your city’s council

If you’re looking to dispose of things like old furniture or other large household items because Santa or family purchased you a new one, make sure to schedule a collection with your council by keeping track of the days they collect more substantial items.

If you don’t act responsibly, your committee can take action on behalf of owners. They have certain rights and responsibilities as follows:

1. Disposing of the abandoned goods

Your committee can throw away unclaimed items, give them away to charity, auction or sell them as they see fit. If goods are sold, the property’s owners are entitled to the proceeds from the sale and money may be paid into the administrative fund. While this is the case in most states, auctioning or selling goods isn’t acceptable within Queensland. Here, the committee must give prior notice of disposal via a letter which should also specify time limits for collection.

2. Offering a notice of disposal

Before the committee does away with abandoned goods, a disposal notice needs to be placed near or on the item so that the owners are aware of the intent of disposal at least five days in advance. This notice should be clearly outlined on a sheet of paper no smaller than A4 in 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 of the items such as the building manager, strata manager or committee member.

3. Keeping a record of sold goods

The committee should maintain a record of the sold goods 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.

While the law allows to do away with abandoned items on common property, remember to follow the protocol for disposal and record keeping. Considering your neighbours in small ways can go a long way in making a big difference to the quality of community living.


If you’d like to find out more on how to deal with strata problems, download your free Community Living guide on by-laws. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.