One of the primary functions of the Body Corporate is to regulate the use of the lots and Common Property within the scheme, for the benefit of all lot owners. The Body Corporate does this by establishing and enforcing by-laws. It is important that all parties involved understand their by-laws and the procedures and applications involved in enforcing them.
All strata schemes are required to have a set of by-laws that residents and visitors of the scheme must follow. The Body Corporate determines the by-laws that best suit it, however there is a condition that by-laws must be reasonable. The by-laws may also be altered as required by a general meeting resolution.
What are Body Corporate by-laws?
Most buildings probably still have by-laws based on the first set they were registered with. Those by-laws may (or may not) adequately cater for the needs of the building today.
By-laws regulate what can and cannot happen inside the community titles scheme, and cover a wide range of topics, for example:
- Changes to each Lot’s external appearance
- Renovations of Lots
- Rules for using the shared recreation areas
- Body corporate supplying services to residents
- Speed limit on the shared driveways
- Opening times of the shared facilities
- What plants can be planted in courtyards
Where do I find my by-laws?
The by-laws are contained in the community management statement (CMS) and are established when the scheme is first established.
The CMS includes:
- A list of the lots included in your body corporate scheme
- The contribution and interest schedule lot entitlements for each lot, and the totals
- Any exclusive use areas
- Any statutory easements
The Body Corporate generally have customised by-laws, however if customised by-laws are not registered, new schemes automatically receive by-laws that are set out in Schedule 4 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
By-laws are specific for your individual Body Corporate scheme. It is important to note they are not rules created by SSKB, they are determined by the Body Corporate.
Can I ask my Body Corporate for a copy of the by-laws?
The by-laws can be accessed in the Body Corporate records. The by-laws will usually be in the Community Management Statement (CMS). If you are a new resident to the scheme or are looking to buy a lot in the scheme, it is recommended that you read the Body Corporate by-laws to ensure you are aware what rules must be followed by its owners, occupiers and visitors.
How are they enforced?
By-laws must be enforced, and the responsibility for their enforcement lies with the Body Corporate committee. There are a number of steps Body Corporates can take to enforce by-laws. If your Body Corporate has a caretaking service contractor (on-site manager), it is generally a duty of the Caretaker to take initial by-law monitoring and notification steps.
If the steps above are carried out by the Caretaker and the by-law issue continues, then the matter should be handed over to the committee.
The committee holds the formal by-law enforcement power which includes:
Formal by-law enforcement can only be authorised by the committee.
How do I change a by-law?
If you wish to add, remove, or modify a by-law, you must successfully move a motion at a general meeting in regard to that by-law and also in regard to the Body Corporate giving consent to changing the CMS.
The Body Corporate must then update and register the new CMS with the Titles Office within three months. A by-law only comes into force on the day the registrar records the new CMS containing the by-law or a later date stated in the by-law. A special resolution is required to change a non-exclusive use by-law. A resolution without dissent is required if the by-law is an exclusive use by-law.
At SSKB, we aim to educate our communities on the many different areas of strata living. If you’re looking for a Body Corporate Manager that supports your community, click here to request a proposal today.
The above is written in reference to the BCCMA.