Dealing with garbage in strata property
Nobody likes to see or have garbage near their living spaces, especially when you are part of a shared strata scheme. The governing strata legislation for New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria each has a section that prohibits owners or occupiers from depositing or throwing garbage, dirt, dust or other discarded items on common property.
If an owner or occupier has a legitimate reason to leave garbage on common property, they must first receive approval in advance from the owners corporation or bodies corporate.
In New South Wales, section 125 of Strata Schemes Management Act (NSW) 2015 and Clauses 32 & 33 of the Regulations also enable owners corporations to store or dispose of, or authorise the disposal of, goods left on common property, provided the proper procedures have been followed.
What should you do if rubbish has been left on common property without consent?
If your strata scheme has a building manager, then alert your manager to the issue. They may be able to dispose of it if the rubbish is suitable for general waste bins. If the dumped rubbish is not suitable for general waste bins, local council or a rubbish contractor may have to collect the material and there could be cost associated with its removal. If the offender is known, they are responsible for the cost. If the offender is not known, the cost falls back on the owners corporation.
If your strata scheme does not have a building manager, and the rubbish is general waste, ask the cleaners to dispose of it. If the rubbish falls outside of general waste, the committee will need to arrange for removal and generally there will be a cost associate with the removal.
PICA Group’s top tips on waste disposal in community and strata living:
Having efficient strata waste management is your best defence against the dumping of rubbish on common property.
1. Provide residents with waste disposal guidelines
Residents may not know how to dispose of their garbage properly according to your strata scheme’s waste disposal system. Ensure there are best practice guidelines available in the form of notices and signs and issued to new owners, share on the community’s online group, or on the common property notice board and waste area.
2. Encourage recycling
Encourage residents to recycle as much as possible. Educate them on ways to recycle, upcycle items. For example, donate things in good working order to charities, or sell or give them away on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
3. Follow through on the consequences of incorrect waste disposal
If someone incorrectly disposes of waste, then it’s important to get on top of the situation before others follow suit. If there are repeat offenders, then it’s important to follow through on the consequences of improper waste disposal such as issuing of a formal warning from the committee, or a notice to comply, and these don’t work, applicable fines for non-compliance.
4. Re-issue waste disposal by-laws and guidance notices
For large schemes with numerous apartments, it may be necessary to have additional by-laws outlining your waste management procedures. The by-laws should also highlight the consequences of breaking these rules. We recommend circulating or re-issue these by-laws regularly.
5. Bulky waste disposal
Packaging of large products like electronics or moving boxes can be a challenge to dispose of. Large cartons and polystyrene packaging may be too large for waste chutes or bins. These materials also fill bins prematurely. If your building is new and numerous residents are moving in at the same time, a dedicated collection point should be organised by the building manager or strata committee. Tenants moving in and out of apartments should be guided by their property manager of what to do with excess bulky waste.
6. Review access for garbage disposal in your strata property
If there are accessibility issues, it can result in improper waste management. Ensure the waste management area has enough bins and the correct balance of general and recycling waste options.
There may also be potential to add separate green waste disposal facilities. Strata properties with limited communal bin space, can organise separate private green waste removal to ensure general waste bins are not filled prematurely.
7. Local council bulky goods collection
Ensure your residents are aware of their rights to use the bulky good collections that many local councils offer. This is generally a free service, and depending on what local government area, you could be entitled to up to two collections per year. Any items collected by Council at your Bulky Goods Clean Up will be compacted, crushed and sent to landfill so the collection should be a last resort.
8. Schedule an annual waste skip bin collection
If excessive rubbish in your scheme is a regular problem, you may want to schedule an annual waste skip bin to encourage owners and residents to do an annual declutter.
If you’d like to find out more on how to deal with garbage disposal and other common strata problems for your strata property, 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.