Forum: How can you define ‘reasonable’?


One of the most-seen weasel words in strata is “reasonable”. And it’s an often-visited grey area because it isn’t defined and can’t be.

Even section 252 of the NSW strata Act allows for a “reasonable” excuse for a breach, but puts the burden of proof back on the defendant “on the balance of probabilities.”

“Reasonable” is peppered throughout the model by-laws, from the length of time you can hang washing out to the steps you must take to control the behaviour of your guests

“Uneasonably” comes up again in the NSW strata regulations, specifically in relation to an animal’s interference “with another occupant’s use and enjoyment of the occupant’s lot or the common property”.

Oddly enough, unlike how far you should go in restraining your rambunctious guests, “unreasonably” is tightly defined in this regulation, from dogs that are aggressive or even smelly, to cats that wander into others’ lots.

And, of course, there’s the model by-law about permission for pets which must not be “unreasonably” refused – whatever that means.

This week, one of our Flatchatters has obtained an agreement with his owners corp that it will organise the removal of magnesite from his apartment within a “reasonable” time.

But weeks have passed and there’s been no movement.  So what is a reasonable time? You can chip in your 10-cents-worth of reasonable estimates HERE.

Elsewhere on the Forum

  • How do your deal with unqualified and incompetent building managers? That’s HERE.
  • What does “in good faith” even mean?  That’s HERE.
  • Mould was coming into my flat from common property – how come I had to pay for the investigation?  That’s HERE.
  • Why does reinstating infill on common property require a DA from council?  That’s HERE
  • Was the newspaper story about the elderly couple allegedly facing bankruptcy and homelessness a beat-up or an expose of the cruelty of strata committees?  That’s HERE.

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  • Creator
  • #64194

    One of the most-seen weasel words in strata is “reasonable”. And it’s an often-visited grey area because it isn’t defined and can’t be. Even section 2
    [See the full post at: Forum: How can you define ‘reasonable’?]

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  • #64285

    Strata Law expert Cathy Sherry has written the following on Twitter:

    It’s not specific to strata law; it’s all through all law. While you can write hard rules that will work 90% of the time, 10% of the time they’ll produce injustice. Reasonable is judged by broader community standards. Having to make judgements is 100% unavoidable in law.

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