The Next General Meeting

The two main Issues which will form the agenda of the next for General Meeting of the owners corporation 

  1. Pet Approval

  2. Parking on Common Area

 

There is further reading on these two issues on the Website page Issues

 

Note: The discussion below includes the options for going forward recommended by the committee, however the opinions expressed are predominately those of the author of this overview. (committee chairperson)

Pet  Approvals

Issue:  Residents move in with pets without seeking approval.  The process for obtaining approval is itself, partly responsible for its neglect.  Prospective rental tenants need to know straight away. If their family pet is going to be allowed before signing the lease agreement on Open Inspection day.  It is just not practical for either the renter, agent nor the tenant to have to wait for body corporate to arrange a general meeting.  If there is nor clear YES or NO policy on pets, it results with tenants taking a punt which leads to hostile and distasteful legal disputes .

 

Fact is that 7 out of 10 units already have either a dog or cat . 

 

The current regulation states that owners need permission from the body corporate to house animals or birds.

 

As yet the. Body corporate has not been able to sight any documented proof of such permission ever been given to any owner.  

Since pets have been recorded at the units for over 10 years now, it would be hard to argue that the body corporate does not accept pets, and thus, it would now be an arduous and troubling legal battle to now seek their removal without some significant behavioural ,health or safety concerns.

However, body corporate also has a legal obligation to ensure that these pets do not  cause a nuisance, hazard or substantial annoyance to another member of the corporation or an occupier or user of another unit or to an invitee or licensee of such a member or person. This also extends to not allowing pets to unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of the common property by others

 

If the body corporate are allowing residents to have pets then the body corporate needs to formulate  a set of pet house rules that pet owners must agree to abide by. A sets out conditions under which residents may keep pets.

 

Options currently proposed for general meeting vote:

 

Given the current situation  we have 4 options. (1& 2 were the committee endorsed options suggested by Unit Titles Schemes Supervisor)

[1] Create a general permission (by way of majority vote) which sets out conditions under which tenants and owners can keep pets

Above was the first suggestion of the Unit Titles schemes supervisor,

There are a number of ways we could go about implementing this including whether the conditions include accepting a pet agreement.

 

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[2] Alter our Articles of Corporation. 

This option being the other suggested option provided by the Unit Titles Schemes Supervisor in his recommendations for the way forward.   To amend the articles as permitted by section 78 of the Act.  You will see that there is a need for a special resolution and a need to register the amendment with the Registrar-General.  The amendment would be that permission be determined by a committee vote rather than a general meeting of body corporate . Again allowing for quick decision before residents move in.

 

 

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[3] Do nothing 

Thus the current legislation would ultimately result in all  current pet owners that do not have documented permission from the body corporate being asked  to apply for permission from a majority vote of the corporation at a general meeting. Or rehousing their pets off the premises.

 

Opinion:(there is a very good chance that some owners would refuse to ask for permission after living here with pets for so long. (due to possibility they may be rejected) On the grounds their pets have by default been accepted due to lack of any expressed concern by the body corporate over the last 21 years. )This would  create something of a legal dilemma for the corporation.

 

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[4]    Body Corporate grant all current residents permission to have the pets they currently have.

Maintain the current regulation regarding pet permission as stated in the articles of corporation but expediting the permission process by adopting an emailed proxy vote system( clicking the link will explain how it works..Note: its use is not limited to this issue) 

Opinion:The required 14 day notification of a general meeting  would still apply and so this option still means a minimum of 2 weeks delay for owners renting out units to prospective tenants with pets. Which has been the root cause the regulation being ignored in the past.

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OPINION (Peter Brady)

Its my opinion that option 1 is the only option which is likely to achieve any real outcome.  Options 2 and 4 still encompass a delay which prevents potential tenants from signing a rental agreement. Potentially option 2 giving Committee the power to deal with pet approvals has the ability to produce answers within 24 hours if needed.  But option 1 provides immediate clarity.

If option 1 included tenants signing to accept our conditions of pet approval there would be no delay. It has the added advantage of pets permission being revoked if conditions of approval are not complied with.  

 

For me it seems  the simplest solution for all concerned, we can also implement it in way that insures all existing pet owners also accept the pet residency conditions.

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Parking on Common Area

Issue:   Body Corporate does not seem to be managing  or controlling parking on the common area.  

 Is it allowed. ?

After looking back through th minutes of past years,  it appears that parking on the common property is an issue that has been raised two or three times in the past 21 years.   However, no action or resolution has ever been made in its regard as far as I can determine..

 

This body corporate is under the Unit Titles Act of 1975 and its articles of corporation are the standard default articles. No amendments or  alterations have been made to date.

 

Reading trough the discussion under the topic of Common Property Parking  on the Issues page of the website will provide an overview of the issue.  So too, the Ruling response to Use of Common Property . ( view via the Rulings link on the Information page of the website)

 

If you read the response from Unit  Titles Schemes Supervisor and the Director of Policy Coordination for the Justice Department. (Referenced above )

Its fairly clear that the body corporate has a legal duty to maintain, manage and administer control over the common area for the use and enjoyment of all members of the corporation.

 

Article 2 (4)(b) states; A member of the corporation shall not;

Use his unit or permit it to be used in such a manner as to cause a nuisance, hazard or substantial annoyance to another member of the corporation or an occupier or user of another unit or to an invitee or licensee of such a member or person;

 

The regulation prevents anyone using the common area in a manner that would block another owner or tenant gaining access to their Unit carports. However, the regulation goes further. It states that one must not cause a nuisance or substantial annoyance to another resident.

 

So its possible  that whilst a vehicle parked on the common area may not be actually be blocking another's access, it could well be considered an annoying nuisance,  in that it may cause extra manoeuvring, skill or care not normally required in navigating access.  This would be considered a breach of article 2(4)(b)

 

Body corporate needs to decide

 Whether they are going to allow any temporary parking on the common area or not and if so under what conditions 

If we are to allow temporary parking on the common area Body corporate needs to identify where,

because there are definitely some “NO PARKING  “areas, that would otherwise cause substantial annoyance to others.  However, there are some areas that under certain circumstances could be used without causing a nuisance, hazard or substantial annoyance

 

I think the Director of Policy Coordination for the Justice Department sums it up adequately when he stated :  Use of part of the common property for the occasional parking of a vehicle would not be a breach.  However he also made it clear that,  “permanently using a particular space could be problematic.”  

In his ruling he also stated  “In general terms common property should not, in any sense, be appropriated by any one owner or occupier. Excessive personal use of the common property for car parking areas would be an interference with the use and enjoyment of that common area by other unit owners and their guests.”

 

Its worth noting that he further points out that ; “ It would be legitimate for the body corporate to identify which parts of the common property are available for visitor parking.”

Opinion:(Peter Brady)

The duties of control ,management and administration of common property is under the unit titles act and not the Management Modules and therefor can not be delegated to the committee using clause 54 of the Act. ( see ruling 2 under Information page of website) However, I believe Committee could be asked to enforce corporate policy.

 

This topic needs further general discussion.. More and more considerations come into play depending on what choices are made. Perhaps this is why nothing has been decided or implemented previously. 

 

Based on the information we now have, together with the advice we have been given. 

I believe we have a three options

 

[1] Do nothing and leave it to unit occupiers to sort out amongst themselves. (this works well until it doesn't)

 

[2] Body Corporate pass a resolution, that the common property area is

(a) Only to be accessed by residence.  All visiting vehicles must park on the street.
(b) Residence not to use the common area for parking, apart from short term temporary periods for drop-off or pick-up purposes or  when carports are temporarily unavailable.

 

[3] Create a Common Area Policy
Its been established that Body Corporate can put in place policies concerning the use of common property. Consequently body corporate could create a Common Area Policy which may 

 

[a]Identify which area of the common area can be used for temporary parking.

[b]Identify which areas can not be used for parking at all.

[c]Require residence to use their unit carports and excess vehicles to parked on the street.

[d]….

[e].…Something else to be determined …

[f ]…….  

 

 

There may be other option others may want entertain like,  Attempt to delegate who can park were, but keep in mind  Excessive and exclusive personal use of the common property for car parking would be a breach of  Act and 2 articles

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