HELP – An Owner in my Unit Complex doesn’t Follow the Rules!
We’ve all heard the stories where one unit owner decides he/she owns the complex and can do as he/she likes and paints the front of their unit a hideous shade of pink that clashes with the colour scheme entirely, or they take to ‘pruning the palm trees’ leaving nothing but a stick out of the ground!
What can you do as an owner of an adjacent unit?
Firstly, check the body corporate by laws and make sure the owner is in fact breaking the rules.
Your next step would be to speak with the Body Corporate Committee or Manager (if an external manager is appointed). The Body Corporate Committee or Manager should issue the rule breaking owner with a Notice to Remedy Breach.
But what if the delinquent owner doesn’t remedy, what next?
The Queensland Government offers a Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM) dispute resolution service. This service:-
• encourages parties to resolve disputes themselves through self resolution
• encourages parties to engage in conciliation in an attempt to settle the dispute without the need for a formal order
• resolves disputes through adjudication, in the event that the matter cannot be settled.
If the dispute is classed as 'complex' disputes such as lot entitlements or contractual disputes, these are then dealt with by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) or by specialist adjudication with the agreement of all parties.
I am not talking to my neighbour, can I just seek adjudication?
One of the requirements before conciliation or adjudication occurs is that an applicant must attempt to resolve their dispute with the other party prior to bringing an application. Your attempt at self resolution must be documented and submitted as evidence.
What if I am just a tenant, can I use the dispute resolution service?
Yes an Owner and/or occupier (i.e. Tenant) can make an application as can the Body corporate or committee or the member of the committee.
I don’t want to go to court, it all seems a bit ‘out of my depth’
The BCCM dispute resolution service is a process that has been put in place to avoid going to ‘court’. Whilst the process is not as formal as ‘court’, documents do have to be carefully prepared and submitted to ensure you meet the requirements.
Our team of specialists can assist in all your body corporate disputes from advising what your rights are to preparing the necessary documentation.