Body Corporate By-Laws: An Introduction


When living in close quarters with other people, a number of commonly accepted rules can help maintain order and harmony. In strata schemes, these rules are known as by-laws.

What are body corporate by-laws?

Body corporate by-laws are a set of rules which apply to a particular strata scheme.  When owners or occupiers agree to live in the scheme, they agree to abide by these rules. Each body corporate may create their own by-laws, but they must not contravene anything in the Body Corporate and Community Management Act.

What is the purpose of by-laws?

Strata schemes vary widely in Queensland. They differ in size, facilities, demographic and suitability for pets. Being able to outline specific rules allows bodies corporate to control and administer the common property, body corporate assets, owners and occupiers in the best way for those particular circumstances.

What are some common examples of by-laws?

The most common by-laws regulate animal ownership, noise levels and parking requirements. Other common by-laws deal with:

–        Damage to common property

–        Behavior of invitees

–        Garbage disposal

–        Appearance of building

What should be done with the by-laws?

All new owners and tenants in the scheme should be given a copy of the by-laws to ensure they do not inadvertently breach any rules. Prospective owners and tenants should also have access to the by-laws to allow them to make an informed decision.

How are by-laws made?

The Body Corporate and Community Management Act outlines model by-laws. Schemes can adopt the model by-laws in whole or part, add extra by-laws or create their own set of by-laws (provided they comply with the Act). By-laws are recorded on the Community Management Statement, a document which is held in the Land registry of the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

Can they be changed?

Bodies corporate can add, change or delete by-laws at a general meeting. To do this requires:

  • For an ordinary by-law –  a special resolution
  • For an exclusive use by-law – a resolution without dissent

An application must then be made for a new Community Management Statement which states the updated by-laws.

What happens if by-laws are breached?

If an owner or occupier violates a by-law, try to discuss it with them in a friendly manner. They may be unaware they are breaching the by-laws, and the situation may be resolved easily and on good terms.

If this is not enough, and the breach continues, the person/s may be issued with a contravention notice, ordering them to remedy the breach in a certain period of time.

If the notices are ignored, your body corporate has further options through the Commissioner for Body Corporate Management, or through the Magistrates Court.

Where can I find more information?

For more information on by-laws, you can visit the following sites:

www.livinginstrata.com.au

http://www.justice.qld.gov.au



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