Trouble with parking rubble

There are still a lot of people in strata land who still don’t get it – and by “it” I mean the idea that you have to moderate your behaviour when you live in close proximity to dozens, maybe hundreds of other people. If you choose not to, don’t be surprised if your neighbours come knocking.

QUESTION: A renovator next door to me has begun dumping building debris from demolition work in his car parking space. He has informed me that ‘he can put whatever he likes in it’. Nice.

Is there a legal line drawn in the sand on what an owner can put in their car space? If an Owner is permitted to do ‘what they like’ it could become a nightmare.

Fair Trading told me car spaces are common property and I’m told that use of a car space contrary to the original Development Consent is a breach. But I wonder if there are Strata By-Laws or other legislation covering this issue.

DT, Sydney

ANSWER: Fair Trading were half right (or, to put it another way, “wrong”). Some car spaces are common property, some are on title, but either way they are still subject to by-laws.

If your car spaces are common property the executive committee can tell him to get rid of the rubble, pronto. If the car space is part of a lot, there are probably by-law restrictions on how it can be used.

For instance, in my building you can’t store anything in your car space that isn’t in keeping with the rest of the car park – like old mattresses and boxes of jumble. Approved storage boxes, however, are fine.

By-laws often differ from building to building but your neighbor is bound by yours so that’s the place to start.

I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some catch-all clause that prevents owners from using their lot in an inappropriate manner. If there isn’t, have one proposed for your next AGM.

Your neighbour is typical of a breed of apartment dwellers who see their lives purely in the terms of their “rights” and never in terms of their responsibilities. A little attitude adjustment by way of a “notice to comply” from your executive committee is clearly in order.

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