Removing a parked vehicle causing obstruction on common property
In NSW, an owners corporation can move or remove a vehicle that blocks an exit or entrance or obstructs use of common property. It may only do so if it has first placed a removal notice on or near the motor vehicle, and the requirements of the notice are not complied with within the period specified in the notice.
Procedure for removing a vehicle parked on common property
If the procedure set out in the strata regulation is not followed correctly, a committee may not have authority to move a vehicle from common property. If you are a committee member, here’s what you need to do:
- Issue a removal notice at least five days before moving the vehicle
- Make sure the notice is no smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, and safe from weather damage
- Describe the motor vehicle and state the date and time the notice was issued
- Provide contact details on the notice for a member or manager of the strata committee, or another delegate of the owners corporation, in relation to the notice
- State on the notice that the vehicle will be removed if the notice has not been complied with.
If the notice has not been complied with within the period specified on the notice:
The committee may organise to have the vehicle moved to another part of common property, or to the nearest place to which it may be lawfully moved (such as the nearest street kerb), or to a location where it no longer blocks an exit or entrance, or obstructs the use of common property.
Recovery of vehicle removal costs
The committee may apply to the Tribunal for an order to the owner of the vehicle to compensate for reasonable removal costs.
PICA Group’s top tips for better parking management
- Prevention of parking issues is key. Erect notices and signage to highlight parking rules and mark appropriate spaces where parking is allowed and the maximum period for which a vehicle may be parked
- Include parking guidelines in the by-laws so owners and residents are also clear about the rules regarding visitor parking in common areas.
- Move the vehicle without issuing a removal notice
- Move the vehicle before the five days’ notice period has passed
- Move the vehicle to an unsafe or unreasonable location
- Damage the vehicle while moving it to another location – you would need to cover the costs of any damage made in the process of moving.
Council enforcement of strata parking
Under section 650A of the Act, a fee-for-service agreement with Local Council can be entered into for parking management services. This means council rangers can erect parking signage in strata parking areas, patrol the area to ensure the parking signage is complied with, and issue parking infringement notices if it is not. Under this arrangement, Council would handle disputes that may arise from parking violations. A parking agreement must be approved by special resolution at a general meeting.
Queensland’s legislation and Victoria’s legislation are both silent on removing vehicles obstructing common property and there seems to be is no certainty for a committee as to their rights to tow vehicles from common property and pass on the towing expenses to the owner of the offending vehicle. We recommend approaching the matter cautiously and seeking legal advice before taking an action to remove a vehicle from common property both in Victoria and Queensland.
If you’d like to find out more on managing parking problems in your strata property, download our FREE Community Living guide on by-laws. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.