What can be done when someone in your strata property breaks by-laws?
Strata by-laws and building rules help govern strata and community titled properties to promote harmonious living, so it’s important to deal with contraventions promptly.
In addition to being aligned with state laws, by-laws ensure residents and owners are on the same page regarding what’s permitted and what’s not.
Here are eight things you can do if someone is breaking by-laws in your strata property:
- Have an honest conversation
- Ask your strata committee or manager to assist
- Keep records and evidence of the by-law breach
- Issue a formal notice of breach
- Handle emergencies from by-law breach
- Understand why your strata committee may refuse to act
- Resolve dispute in court
- Amend strata by-laws
1. Have an honest conversation
If someone is breaking by-laws in your strata property, start by having a friendly, honest conversation. You’d be surprised at how much open communication helps in most cases. Whether your neighbour is violating parking rules, being noisy, leaving their pets unsupervised or hosting unruly guests, you can always let them know how their actions are affecting you and other owners. It’s possible they’re simply unaware of the consequences of their actions, or that they are in breach of by-laws. Make sure your strata committee or strata manager, provides owners, tenants and residents with a copy of the by-laws or building rules.
2. Ask your strata committee or manager to assist
If direct communication isn’t doing the trick, you can always request the strata committee or your strata manager to help resolve the matter. Having an unbiased party negotiate matters can help sort issues in a more formal manner, and they may already have a protocol in place to deal with any conflict situations that may arise. Your strata committee can also explain the nuances of community living, and make them aware of the implications of breaching by-laws or building rules.
3. Keep records and evidence of the by-law breach
If by-laws are breached intentionally and continuously, make sure you keep a record of the breach. Your record should include who, what, how, when, and for how long it has been happening. Retaining evidence in the form of documents and photographs or video helps to formalise the matter if the breach needs to be escalated.
4. Issue a formal notice of breach
When verbal warnings fail, your strata committee can issue a formal Notice to Comply with a by-law and ask them to cease the activity that’s creating trouble. If the by-law is being breached by a resident, the notice should be addressed to them. The owner or landlord, as well as the property manager, should also be issued a copy of the breach notice to keep them in the loop.