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How Rules are Created

All owners corporations have rules for the control, management, use or enjoyment of common property and lots. The rules cover day-to-day issues such as parking, pets and noise.

If the owners corporation does not make its own rules, a set of model rules outlined in the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018 applies.

Rules made under the Owners Corporations Act 2006 and registered at Land Use Victoria apply to:

  • the owners corporation

  • lot owners

  • tenants

  • sub-lessees

  • occupiers or tenants.

The owners corporation rules:

  • must comply with the requirements of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 and the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012

  • must not conflict with any other law, regulation or legal obligation; for example, privacy and anti-discrimination laws

  • should help to clarify everyone’s rights and responsibilities and reduce conflict within your owners corporation.

All lot owners and tenants must be given a copy of the rules before they move in.

 

Owners corporations can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to enforce rules and the tribunal can impose penalties for breaches of rules.

Owners corporations (formerly body corporate) can make rules for:​​

Health, safety and security

  • health, safety and security of owners of lots, occupiers and invitees. For example, rules about contacting the committee or manager if there is an accident, injury or damage to a person or the building 

  • supervision and control of children near potentially dangerous areas of the common property, such as stairs, the laundry, driveways and swimming pools 

  • use of security keys 

  • storage of flammable liquids and other substances and materials 

  • disposal and storage of trade waste 

  • disposal of domestic waste and restrictions on leaving rubbish uncovered on the common property.

Use of common property

  • care of lawns, garden, flowers, trees or shrubs on the common property 

  • damage to common property that is part of the building. This should not prevent the installation of a locking or safety device to prevent harm to children, or insect screens, required by building legislation 

  • moving furniture and other objects through common property, where it affects other users 

  • design, construction, appearance and landscaping of common property.

Use of and works to lots

  • use of lots - rules could govern changes in use. For example, from residential to commercial 

  • maintenance of security systems, smoke alarms and air conditioners 

  • restrictions on floor coverings in lots to reduce disturbance by noise 

  • requirements to maintain and care for lots 

  • requirements to clean exterior windows and doors of lots.

Design of lots

  • design, construction, appearance and landscaping of lot exteriors 

  • restrictions on blinds and window coverings 

  • restrictions on colour, painting or finish of lot exteriors 

  • requiring an owner to obtain prior written approval before making alterations to: 

    • building structure 

    • building exteriors 

    • chimneys, stairs, balconies or other attachments to the building exterior 

    • doors, windows or skylights on the building exterior or front common property 

    • fences, railings or similar structures that enclose a patio, balcony or yard.

Management and administration

  • use of common property, personal property, equipment, services, and amenities 

  • use of swimming pools, barbeques or other common property 

  • fees for use of common property. For example, rules about using a theatre or swimming pool for private function or party 

  • use of skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles on common property 

  • care of common property, personal property, equipment, services and amenities, including littering 

  • notices, notice board and advertising 

  • drying of laundry on common property, balconies or where visible externally.

Behaviour of persons

  • behaviour of owners, occupiers and guests on common property 

  • behaviour of the owner or the occupier in a lot that would be illegal or cause a nuisance or hazard to any occupier or visitors 

  • noise and other nuisances, including noise from air conditioners, musical instruments, televisions, sound systems and lawn mowers between 10:00 pm and 9:00 am. Rules about noise should be made in accordance with environment protection laws.

Vehicles and parking

  • speed of vehicles and parking 

  • parking of heavy vehicles on common property without permission from the owners corporation 

  • use of car parks and carports for purposes other than car parking.

Committees and sub-committees

  • establishing a sub-committee, including membership, purpose, activities and reporting requirements 

  • maintenance and grievance committees’ responsibilities 

  • communication and complaints procedure.

Rules can also cover:

  • dispute resolution 

  • notices and documents 

  • the common seal.

Informing residents and owners of the owners corporation rules

People who fail to obey rules sometimes simply do not know the rules. Your owners corporation (formerly body corporate) should ensure that all new residents, whether owners or occupiers, get a copy of the rules.

If appropriate, the owners corporation could send a letter highlighting a particular rule to all residents, asking for compliance.

Discuss your concerns about breaches of the rules with the person involved, the manager or the committee. The owners corporation, its committee or manager may act on your behalf.

Rules an owners corporation cannot enforce

An owners corporation cannot enforce ambiguous or unreasonable rules, or rules that unfairly discriminate against a lot owner or occupier. For example, a rule cannot prevent children from living in a lot (unless it is a retirement village) or restrict the use of a guide dog. Avoid making rules that are inconsistent with the Owners Corporation Act 2006, Subdivision Act 1988 or their regulations conflict with or limit any other Act, Regulation, or legal requirement; for example, privacy laws.

Making a formal complaint to the owners corporation

You can make a formal written complaint to the owners corporation in an approved form. The owners corporation may decide to take no action, but must provide you with written reasons for this decision.

The owners corporation must have an internal dispute resolution process to handle complaints about breaches of the rules and other disputes.

For more information about this process, see the Consumer Affairs Complaint handling in your owners corporation page.

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