Body corporate rights when entering lots
When considering your rights as a lot owner and your relationship with the Body Corporate or Owners Corporation, one of the more important rights is the capacity of the BC/OC to enter your lot. There may be a number of reasons why a BC/OC may have to require entry to your lot, and their legal capacity to do so is governed by specific state legislation.
In Queensland it is section 163 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
The act states that a person (an authorised person) authorised by the body corporate for a community titles schemes may enter a lot (or common property of the subject of an exclusive use by-law). They may remain there while it is reasonably necessary to inspect the lot/common property, and find out whether work the body corporate is authorised or required to carry out is necessary, or to carry out work the body corporate is authorised or required to carry out.
The power of entry may also be exercised at any time, in an emergency at any time, with or without notice of intended entry given to any person.
In all cases requiring entry which are not emergencies, entry can only occur at a reasonable time after at least 7 days written notice of the intended entry has been given to the owner of the lot or, if the owner is not in occupation of the lot, the occupier of the lot. Similarly, for entry to common property under an exclusive use by-law, entry may only occur at a reasonable time after at least 7 days written notice of the intended entry has been given to the owner of the lot to which the exclusive use by-law attaches (or again, if the owner of the lot is not in occupation of the common property, the occupier of the common property). The notice and entry must comply with the security or other arrangements or requirements ordinarily applying for persons entering the lot or the common property.
Any person who obstructs an authorised person who is exercising or attempting to exercise powers under this section faces a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units ($2438 – as of 1 July 2016, a penalty unit value in Queensland is $121.90).
The Owners Corporation Act 2006 is silent on a specific timeframe for notification. However, the Owners Corporation have the below obligations.
It includes the following:
50 When can an owners corporation authorise a person to enter a lot?
An owners corporation may authorise a person to enter a lot or a building on a lot on its behalf to carry out repairs, maintenance or other works in accordance with section 47(1), 47(2) or 48(3).
Further to this, the Owners Corporation, under section 46 of the Owners Corporation Act 2006 has an obligation to repair and maintain common property.
46 Owners corporation to repair and maintain common property
An owners corporation must repair and maintain –
New South Wales
New South Wales legislation is about to change, but the issue of access is covered by the new law in Division 4 Powers to enter premises and carry out work
122 Power of owners corporation to enter property in order to carry out work
(1) An owners corporation for a strata scheme may, by its agents, employees or contractors, enter on any part of the parcel of the scheme for the purpose of carrying out the following work:
(a) work required or authorised to be carried out by the owners corporation in accordance with this Act (including work relating to window safety devices and rectification work carried out under Part 11),
(b) work required to be carried out by the owners corporation by a notice given to it by a public authority,
(c) work required or authorised to be carried out by the owners corporation by an order under this Act.
(2) An owners corporation for a strata scheme may, by its agents, employees or contractors, enter on any part of the parcel for the purpose of determining whether any work is required to be carried out by the owners corporation in accordance with this Act.
(3) In an emergency, the owners corporation may enter any part of the parcel for those purposes at any time.
(4) In a case that is not an emergency, the owners corporation may enter any part of the parcel for those purposes with the consent of any occupier of that part of the parcel or, if the occupier does not consent, in accordance with an order of the Tribunal under this Division.
(5) A person must not obstruct or hinder an owners corporation in the exercise of its functions under this section. Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units.
(6) An owners corporation is liable for any damage to a lot or any of its contents caused by or arising out of the carrying out of any work, or the exercise of a power of entry, referred to in this section unless the damage arose because the owners corporation was obstructed or hindered.
If you have further questions about your rights as a lot owner, talk to SSKB. Our experienced staff can provide you with professional and detailed advice tailored to suit the specifics of your scheme.