Abandoned Goods and Illegally Parked Motor Vehicles on Common Property – NSW Strata Law Reforms

In one of our previous articles, I highlighted the difficulties faced by an owners corporation trying to deal with motor vehicles parked illegally on common property.

Fear not strata dwellers: the owners corporation will soon have an avenue available to it to remove these vehicles, under the new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 (“Reg”). A similar procedure applies to abandoned goods on common property, which is also explored in this article.

Removal of Motor Vehicle

Clause 34 of the Reg provides a set of procedures which can be used by an owners corporation to remove a motor vehicle left on common property which:

  • blocks an exit or entrance; or
  • otherwise obstructs the use of common property.

The motor vehicle is to be moved to another place on common property, or to the nearest place to which it may be lawfully moved so that the motor vehicle no longer blocks an exit or entrance or otherwise obstructs the use of common property.

In order for the owners corporation to lawfully move the motor vehicle, the owners corporation must first satisfy the following elements:

  • The owners corporation has placed a removal notice on or near the motor vehicle; and
  • The requirements of the notice are not complied with within the period specified in the removal notice.

A removal notice must have the following characteristics:

  1. not be less than the size of an A4 piece of paper, and
  2. be placed in a position or be in a material so that the contents of the notice are not likely to be detrimentally affected by weather, and
  3. describe the motor vehicle and state the date and time the notice was issued, and
  4. state that the motor vehicle will be removed if it is not moved from the common property or so that it no longer obstructs common property before the date and time specified in the notice (being not earlier than 5 days after the notice was placed on or near the motor vehicle), and
  5. specify contact details for a member of the strata committee, the strata managing agent or a delegate of the owners corporation in relation to the notice.

Clearly a car is a motor vehicle, but under clause 34(6) of the Reg an owners corporation can also remove the following:

  1. a motor vehicle within the meaning of the Road Transport Act 2013, and includes a caravan, boat trailer or other trailer (whether or not attached to such a vehicle), and
  2. the remains of such a vehicle, and
  3. any article (including parts and accessories) that is secured to or in such a vehicle at the time it is impounded.

With respect to any reasonable costs incurred by the owners corporation in moving the motor, the owners corporation may seek a costs order against the owner of the motor vehicle by lodging an application with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Disposal of Abandoned Goods

Similarly, if any goods are left on common property, the owners corporation may dispose of the abandoned goods under clause 32 of the Reg in the following circumstances:

  • if a disposal notice has been placed on or near the goods and the goods have not been removed within the specified period in the notice;
  • they are perishable goods; or
  • they consist only of rubbish.

A disposal notice must have the following characteristics:

  1. not be less than the size of an A4 piece of paper, and
  2. be placed in a position or be in a material so that the contents of the notice are not likely to be detrimentally affected by weather, and
  3. describe the goods and state the date and time the notice was issued, and
  4. state that the goods will be disposed of if they are not removed from the common property before the date and time specified in the notice (being not earlier than 5 days after the notice was placed on or near the goods), and
  5. specify contact details for a member of the strata committee, the strata managing agent or a delegate of the owners corporation in relation to the notice.

The owners corporation may dispose of the goods by selling them and the proceeds of the sale are to be paid to the administrative fund of the owners corporation.

It is important for the owners corporation to make a record of any goods sold under clause 32 of the Reg and keep the record for a period of not less than 12 month after the disposal. The record must contain the following details:

  1. a description of the goods,
  2. the date of the sale,
  3. the name and address of the purchaser
  4. if sold by auction, the address of the principal place of business of the auctioneer.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. This article is intended to provide general information in summary form only. You should not rely on the content of this article as legal advice. If you would like advice specific to you and your situation, please contact us.

Posted in LCOR