Did you know that every owners corporation in Victoria has rules?
By default, every owners corporation has the Model Rules, which are enforceable in VCAT in the event of a dispute. They are a part of The Owners Corporations Regulations 2018 and are available at the Consumer Affairs website: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/owners-corporations/rules/model-rules
However, an owners corporation may decide to write and implement its own rules, via a Special Resolution. The owners corporation may have its own Special Rules in addition to the Model Rules, or it may opt to replace the Model Rules.
Melb OC recommends that a solicitor is always consulted before writing rules for the building, to ensure that the rules are enforceable at VCAT.
Owners are required to give a copy of the OC Rules to any tenant, as part of The Residential Tenancies Act.
If an owner or a resident does not follow the rules, they may be issued a Breach Notice. The breach is ultimately the responsibility of the owner, even if the breach of the rules is committed by the owner’s guest, or the owner’s tenant, or even the owner’s tenant’s guest.
If there are costs associated with a Breach Notice, such as administrative expenses, or the cost of rectification (in the event of damage to the building) or the cost for removal of rubbish (if it has been dumped inappropriately for example), these costs are charged to the owner. The owner may look to pass the costs on to the party responsible, but as far as the owners corporation is concerned, the invoice is issued to the owner and the owner is responsible.
Melb OC always exercises a degree of caution before issuing breach notices, because as much as breaching owners for wrongdoing is important, we believe that communication is paramount to having a harmonious community. We will install notices in the lobbies for example, outlining correct and incorrect behaviour.
Three final things to consider regarding OC Rules:
There is no legal requirement to issue a warning before issuing a breach. It’s always best to familiarise yourself with the rules, and be mindful of your community to avoid being breached in the first place.
If you do break the rules, or someone in the community is breaking the rules, the matter can be referred to the Dispute Resolution Committee.
The owners corporation manager is not the police. If a person in the community is making you feel unsafe, call 000.
For more advice on implementing rules, contact Melb OC.