Strata communities should play devil’s advocate with their by-laws to ensure they comply with the law and are enforced in such a way to reduce the risk of them being overturned in adjudication.
The governing principle for all Body Corporate and Owners Corporation by-laws can be summed up like this:
The primary purpose of by-laws is to create an agreed-to set of rules that control and manage the common property and BC/OC assets, including services and facilities and the use of lots.
New South Wales and Victoria have model by-laws provided by their respective state governments. In Queensland, bodies corporate can adopt the standard by-laws that are set out in Schedule 4 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (QLD) or make their own.
By-laws can cover a lot of ground and be specifically tailored to suit particular community, but they cannot:
All communities must register their by-laws with the relevant state legislative body, but that doesn’t mean a recorded by-law is deemed valid or even enforceable. By-laws may be challenged and if an adjudicator deems them to be invalid, the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation will be required to change them and register a new community management statement.
If your community chooses to create specific bylaws to suit your specific circumstance, it is important to:
This is an essential step because it is the responsibility of the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation to enforce their bylaws.
New South Wales Office of Fair Trading has some great commonsense tips for dealing with disputes.