Car parking disputes- Adjudicators order. - SSKB - Strata Managers | Community Experts

Car parking disputes- Adjudicators order.

Car parking is quite possibly one of the single, most hotly debated topics in strata. This contentious issue often presents many challenges to both residents and visitors alike.

The five most common complaints are: 

1.)   Someone has parked in your privately owned car park.

2.)   Someone has parked in your allocated common property car park

3.)   Someone has parked too frequently in a visitor car park

4.)   Someone has parked in a place that is not a designated car park

5.)   Someone has parked over the allocated time for visitor car parking

Just last week, a dispute between an owner occupier and his body corporate was heard, and an order was handed down by the Queensland Commissioner.

 The case arose when the occupier of one lot claimed that the occupiers of another lot, within the same complex, were using allocated visitor car parking spots for their own benefit. It was argued that this was in contravention of the community’s by-laws.

The apartments were part of a beach-front holiday complex, comprising of 12 lots with each lot allocated only one car space each. Additionally, there are six extra spaces designated for visitors. With owners using the visitor spaces for their multiple vehicles, it stopped legitimate visitors from having anywhere to park. Being in a prime beach position, on weekends and public holidays, there was also little to no street parking available.

The applicant argued that the occupants using one or two vehicles in the visitor car spaces were in breach of by-laws, the council’s planning requirements and were causing nuisance and inconvenience to other residents.

So what was the order and how was this determined?

The application was dismissed on the following grounds: Commissioners decision

-It was agreed that the visitor parking was used unlawfully from time to time.

– It was considered to be more appropriate to make an order to the body corporate to take such positive and reasonable steps to ensure the by-laws of the scheme are known to and complied with by all owners and occupiers of the scheme.

-The body corporate must bear in mind that it is not able to grant occupiers permission to park in visitor car spaces.

– The body corporate may like to approach the local authority to see whether the number of designated visitor spaces can be varied in some way, for example, for dual usage, or general purpose.

-It was suggested that a submission could be made to the council to end this.

-This was to be considered as a suggestion only as the commissioner held no jurisdiction in this area.

Do you have any problems with parking in strata? Click here to ask an industry expert a question.


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Recent Comments


m eccleston On July 31, 2013 | Reply

What an asolute copout What purpose does the adjudicator serve?

Steve Healy On October 6, 2016 | Reply

I’m buying a unit off the plan. My unit comes with two car parks.
I have been offered an additional two car spaces by the builder to do with as I wish.
I am the only owner/occupier.
What problems will I encounter if I rent them out? To tenants or commuters? The property is close to a train station.

    SSKB On October 10, 2016 | Reply

    Thank you for your question Steve. To give you the most accurate information, may we know which state the property is in, as rules may vary from state to state.

Joy taylor On August 27, 2017 | Reply

I have a man who parks in the visitor park next to my apartment, he is a resident and already has car parks. I left a note on his vehicle asking him not to park there and reminding him it is a visitors park, with a sign saying so. This man backs his vehicle into the park, it has exhaust fumes that fill my unit, giving me a headache. I asked him if he is going to park there coul he not back in. All was ok for 3 weeks. He has parked there again tonight, what should I do. This man also chased another residents cat and abused her. I’m recovering from surgery and am often not well.

    SSKB On August 30, 2017 | Reply

    Hello Joy,
    It would appear that this gentleman may be breaching the by-laws/rules. The best thing to do would be to contact your body corporate/owners corporation committee and advise them of the situation, so they can enforce the by-laws/rules.

Margaret On September 10, 2017 | Reply

I live in a complex that only has one car park for each unit and has 6 car parks for visitors but not sign posted. Can I park my car in one of these as they are all never taken up. I don’t want to park on the streets because of vandalism
What are my legal rights ?

    SSKB On September 12, 2017 | Reply

    Hello Margaret,
    If the By Laws within the CMS and survey plans identify them as Visitor Car Parking, occupiers cannot park their cars in the visitor car parks, they are for visitors only.
    You are breaching the By Laws if you park your car in the visitors car park and you risk the Body Corporate issuing you with a breach notice.

Garry On January 24, 2018 | Reply

hi , my parents own a unit, one of 7 …. they are elderly 80/83 ..i stay occasionally 2 days a week …however the 2 visitors car parks the building provides , are always used by the unit owners despite them having secure underground double bay parking . What rights do I have as a visitor & are the owners legally allowed to do this .
As the area is shortly to be made 3 hour parking on the road frontage between 9 to 5 pm visitors will be restricted in visiting residents

    SSKB On February 5, 2018 | Reply

    Good morning Garry,
    We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the Community Management Statement (CMS) for the building. Your parents should have a copy when they purchased the unit. A copy can also be obtained from the strata management company or the QLD Department of Natural Resources. Specifically, you are looking for the Body Corporate By-Laws therein. It is likely that the By-Laws will include reference to the rights and obligations associated with use of the visitor bays. Once you have this information, you will be able to discuss solutions with the Body Corporate Manager and/or Building Manager.

Susan On June 13, 2018 | Reply

Hi, I am being taken to mediation for selling my unit with two numbered car spaces as a two car unit when it had only one on the cms. My question is in regards to body corporate not policing or enforcing this original parking plan for 9 years until it was pulled out of archives when repainting the building. For 9 years and three owners this car space had been numbered to unit 14 and no complaints, or issues were raised. Now the current owner is upset he only has one car space. Determining who is at fault is hard when some say the Plan of Usage (eg the numbering of the lots) at some stage became the new plan that everybody followed for 9 years. What duty does the body corporate have in upholding the plan, and if they fail to do so for nearly a decade are they in any way liable?

    SSKB On June 20, 2018 | Reply

    Hi Susan,
    The document which allocates an exclusive use area such as a car space is the Community Management Statement (CMS) or if the car space is on title, the registered SP Plan. Non enforcement of the By-laws as contained within the CMS, is an issue for the Owners and Committee of the day. Regardless of who did or did not police By-laws, every purchaser of any Lot in a Body Corporate would undertake a search of the Body Corporate records which would clearly state the areas allocated to a particular Lot (exclusive use or on Title as a Lot). Any line marking or numbering is only as good as the contractor who painted them and the instructions provided to the contractor. The CMS is the key document.

Taleena Anderson On July 3, 2018 | Reply

I was wondering how I go about making a complaint against my body corporate which have failed to step in and resolve an issue I’m having with a apartment I’m renting. I have a allocated parking space that comes with my lease and I’ve had continuous issues with the person parking in the same space beside parking half way in my parking spot that I can’t park my car on site.

I’ve left written notes and spoke to the owner and I’ve been met with abuse. When I mentioned these facts, my body corporate told me there was nothing they could do.

I feel like I’m helpless with this matter and I’ve been forced to park out on the street which could effect any possible insurance claims if something were to happen to my vehicle. Not to mention I was leased my apartment under the contract of having an allocated space.

Could you please offer me some advice as I’m 3 months into a 12 month lease which I can’t get out.

    SSKB On July 3, 2018 | Reply

    Good morning Taleena,

    From what you have outlined regarding the terms of your lease with the allocated car space we agree that you are entitled to park your vehicle within the space allocated, just as your neighbour is allowed to park in their allocated car space. However, both you and your neighbour must ensure that your vehicle remains within the boundary of the allocated space at all times.

    We support your initial approach via notes and the direct approach to your neighbour, as this approach in our experience generally achieves a mutually desired result.

    We suggest your next step should be to raise with the Owner of your unit via your Real Estate Agent this matter and request that the Owner write to the Body Corporate Manager requesting that the Body Corporate Committee address this matter via issuing correspondence to the resident & Owner of the neighbouring Lot.

    We hope this is of some assistance to you.

Julie Philp On September 11, 2018 | Reply

I am an owner in a strata titled building comprising 7 commercial lots. We have 18 car park spaces between us. All fees are structured per lot entitlement. My share is 17.09%. I was always told that I only had use of 2 spots. This always seemed unfare as 2 much smaller lots had 3 allocated car spaces each. The Body Corp. recently searched to find that the car park lots were not registered to each lot. We also found 2 separate car park plans in our Body Corp. Managers file. One has my Lot with 3 car spots and another later one with 2 spots only. How can I find out for sure. What Legal search can I undertake. Land Titles, Council.
There are no more records that we can see in our file. The Manager before our current one did not run the Body Corporate legally and effectively. What do I do. Can I legally ask for my third spot back.

    SSKB On September 12, 2018 | Reply

    Hi Julie,
    We write assuming your Lot exists in QLD and was established after 1997. Car spaces can be allocated within a scheme via the following methods:-

    – Option A – Exclusive use of common property car spaces to Lot Owners via the Community Management Statement (CMS) – See Schedule E at the back of the CMS;
    – Option B – On Title to the Lot via the registered Building Format Plan (BFP) or Standard Format Plan ( SFP);
    – Option C – On common property with no specific allocation to any Owner.

    The most effective and common approach to allocating car spaces would be Option A, but the other 2 Options are valid. When a scheme is established and Lots are sold off the plan, the purchaser enters into a Contract of Sale with the Developer / Original Owner to pay $xxx for their Lot and as a standard each Lot may be allocated 2 car spaces of your choice, but if the purchaser pays extra, they may get 3 or 4 car spaces. The Contract of Sale is between the buyer and the seller and is of no interest to the Body Corporate or Body Corporate Manager. However, these car spaces are then legally allocated as per Option A or B. As you have indicated that previously the Body Corporate has not been administered well, there is some logical doubt over the status of the car space allocations. To categorically understand which Lot Owners have legal write to utilise a car space, you should undertake a Titles Office Search and obtain a copy of the current Community Management Statement. I believe this will answer your queries.

    However, if the car spaces are allocated under Option B, then you should obtain a copy from Titles Office of the Registered Plan (BFP or SFP).

    I believe this will clarify the right of use of these car spaces, but if not we would need to have a look at the documents you do have to advise specifically.

    PS – To change the allocation of a car space is generally not an easy process to undertaken because it requires the approval of other Owners.

    If you require any further comments or assistance, please do make contact with us directly for further details. Email –

Tatiana On January 13, 2019 | Reply

Hi, I am currently having issues with a neighbour complaining about us parking in front of our garage. We live in a communal property with 4 townhouses (including ours) every single person parks in front of their garage as we all use the garage for storage (including the one complaining) We recently got a new car so the one designated park is already taken by our other car. We leave more than enough room for him to get in and out easily but he’s hassling our real estate so much that they just want us to move the car so he leaves them alone. Nobody else has a problem with how we are parked except him. He has a problem with every single person on the street. This person has called the police on us and they even saw no problem with it. What do we do? We don’t want to have to move our car onto the street because our houses are on a bend of a road and can’t have any parking unless we park at the end of the road. Our real estate said they would look at the community by laws and see if we are allowed to park there or not. When I contacted them regarding the findings of this, they have flipped it and used that us parking there is disturbing the peace. Even though two emails before that, they messaged saying we are nothing but good tenants!! What do we do!?

    Emma Smith On January 21, 2019 | Reply

    We write in response to your car parking issue being experienced at the townhouse complex you reside in. We obviously do not have a copy of the by-laws and the plans of the complex however we will make some assumptions as we go.

    The registered plan of the Body Corporate outlines the boundary of your Lot / unit and the Body Corporate by-laws outline the rules of use of the common property and various aspects of community living.

    No Owner / resident can park their vehicle on the common property unless there is formal exclusive use allocation. Your driveway may or may not be within the boundary of your Lot. If the driveway was included within your Lot then generally you and every resident could park their vehicle within on their driveway. However, this is not common and from the responses you have indicated that you have received, we believe the driveway is common property and therefore you are unable to park on the common property.

    But it could also be reasonably assumed that all 4 Lots have a similar driveway and the plan would treat these areas the same which would mean that the rule would apply to all, resulting in that no resident (owner or tenant) could park in front of their garage. At this point we have to ask the question if your vehicle is bigger than other vehicles and if it overhangs your driveway or grassed areas ?

    It is not uncommon for a Body Corporate to adopt an informal consistent approach to parking of vehicles in front of garages and it is this approach which we are assuming is the case here.

    Is the treatment of car parking consistent across all 4 lots and is the request from the Body Corporate consistent with how the other 3 residents utilise their driveways?

    We acknowledge that there are more questions than answers provided here for you but we hope this helps you understand this scenario.


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