Obligations of Members

Obligations of Members

What is the framework of strata regulation in Victoria?

Owners corporations of have a framework for cooperation by owners and occupiers in multi-unit developments by way of strata rules and legislative provisions.

The strata rules have provisions regarding behaviour, noise, car parking, use and damage of common property, alterations to an owner’s lot and other matters.  Model rules apply to all owners corporations and an owners corporation may make its own strata rules which operate in conjunction with the model rules.

The Owners Corporations Act 2006 imposes obligations on owners such as requiring the payment of levies to fund the operation of the owners corporation, insurance, administrative expenses and repairing and maintaining common property.

Where can I obtain a copy of the strata rules?

The model rules are set out in the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018 and these are available from a number of websites including www.legislation.vic.gov.au and www.austlii.edu.au.  

If an owners corporation has made its own rules, these are available from the owners corporation.

Is a garage common property in a strata scheme?

If the garage is on the title of the owner it will be set out on the plan of subdivision.  If it is located on common property, it may be subject to a lease or licence from the owners corporation.

Who maintains the common area and strata gardens?

An owners corporation is obliged to maintain common property including gardens and will typically employ a strata maintenance services contractor to undertake this. In some, usually smaller, schemes there may be a strata maintenance agreement between owners to avoid the cost of engaging a contractor for this work. Strata garden maintenance is not usually the responsibility of those who live in medium-to-big size strata properties.

Who is responsible for strata building maintenance?

It is the responsibility of the owners corporation to organise strata property, or common property maintenance, including to repair and maintain areas of common property, such as roofs and fences. Whether a roof is common property or not is determined by the plan of subdivision and this should be verified rather than presuming that a roof is common property.

It is common where there are single dwellings side by side that the roof will be within the owner’s lot and in a multi-storey building the roof is common property but there may be exceptions and it is necessary to refer to the plan of subdivision for rules around strata planning.

Can I carry out renovations to my lot in a strata scheme?

An owner may carry out renovations to their lot provided notice is given to the owners corporation.  If a permit is required, and an obligation to advise the owners corporation, preferably by providing a copy of the permit to the owners corporation.  If an owners corporation has made rules regarding renovations there may be particular requirements regarding consent for renovations and these must be complied with – please ensure you consult your documentation and Strata Manager to check for strata renovation rules before proceeding with any work.

When works are to be carried out to a lot, an owner should ensure other occupiers are not disturbed by the hours in noise of works, removal of debris, dust and that contractors do not park on common property without prior approval of the owners corporation.  A lot owner is responsible for the conduct of any builders or contractors undertaking work in their lot.

What if common property is damaged?

Damage to common property by an owner, tenant or occupier is a breach of the rules and the owner of the lot can be held accountable and required to pay for the cost of remediating the damage.  If it transpires that an owner caused damage to common property, this is a matter for the Strata Manager to look into. The same rules apply if there is damage to common property by tenant.

Are there controls over the use of a balcony?

An occupier of a lot may use the balcony as they see fit subject to it not causing a nuisance to other persons.  Nuisance includes noise and smoke drift.  Objects should not be thrown or discarded from the balcony.

Generally, we can say that strata balcony rules are subject to common sense – for example, owners should be aware that balconies may have load limits and should not be overloaded by an excessive number of people congregating on the balcony one time.