Latest News

What is the benefit of registering by-laws?

15 December 2017

By Gary Adamson, REINSW Strata Chapter Chair, and Managing Director of Strata Management Services - NSW

An owners corporation is not required to have any by-laws if the lot owners do not wish to have any. However, in the absence of by-laws no legal action can be taken against an owner or occupier to prevent them.

An owners corporation can only enforce by-laws which have been registered, such as banning owners and occupiers from smoking or parking their vehicles on common property. Without registering the by-laws they are unable to take any action unless, or until it passes and registers a by-law preventing this form of behaviour.

As with common and criminal law, by-laws provide a legal avenue to be able to enforce the law where it is being breached. But if the law does not exist then it cannot be enforced.

In the case of strata schemes the registration of by-laws, whilst they do not have to be enforced, means they can be legally enforced should the necessity arise.

In the first instance, the strata committee would make a decision to enforce the by-law and then make an application to the Tribunal/Court for an Order against the person(s) breaching the by-law.

Where there is a subsequent breach following the issue of an Order by a Court or Tribunal, an application can be made for a fine which can be imposed for each and every breach.

Fines range from $550 to $5,500 for by-law breaches and the costs can mount up quickly as can the associated legal fees which would be sought by the applicant to the matter.

Following the strata reform, it is now up to the sitting member who is issuing the fine if it is remitted to the Office of State Revenue or to the applicant strata scheme.