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NSW Can Building Manager Lock Me Out Under Property Law?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Sarah23479, 20 June 2016.

  1. Sarah23479

    Sarah23479 Member

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    I live in a large multi-level apartment building with an underground car park. There is only one car space for the two bedroom apartment and my housemate uses it. I either park on the street or in visitors parking.

    I recently received a note left on my car that read as follows:

    "Please contact building management or security to discuss your use of the visitors parking facilities.
    Reminder visitors parking is for people not living or working in this complex. Cancellation of swipe cards may occur for failing to comply."

    Is it legal for them to cancel my swipe card and effectively lock me out of my own place of residence under property law?
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    No. You can suggest to them that they will be responsible for your alternate living expenses (Hotel, meals) until access is restored.

    There are other ways to enforce parking restrictions other than locking you out of your home. Not sure of NSW laws, possibly they can clamp your car or tow it away instead. The body corporate should have clear rules, and posted signs saying what the rules are. FYI, car clamping and paying money to have your car unclamped in VIC is illegal, unless done by a sheriff. However clamping done for free here is not illegal. Maybe you can suggest car clamping as an alternative for them.
     
  3. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    Sarah23479,

    Would cancelling your swipe cards prevent you from accessing your apartment completely? I would have thought that cancelling your means of accessing your property would amount to a breach of the fundamental leasing principals which guarantee you exclusive possession and undisturbed quiet possession - s50 Residential Tenancies Act (NSW).

    If you were in breach of your lease agreement you would have to be served with some sort of remedy breach before they could actually exclude you access from your apartment.

    Having said that, I can foresee it playing out like this - you continue to park in the visitor's car park -- they cancel your swipe card -- your left locked out of your own property until you can get a lawyer ($) to dispute the action with them. And in the end, it's just a whole lot of hassle for you.

    Whether or not they have the right to cancel your key card, I don't doubt that they will probably do it anyway. And in the end, it will cost money to enforce your legal rights. If you are in the wrong anyway by breaching a term of your lease or the bylaws of the complex then you don't really have a leg to stand on anyway.

    Also check out: RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT 2010 - SECT 70Locks and other security devices
    RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT 2010 - SECT 71Changes of locks and other security devices
    RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT 2010 - SECT 73Remedies for security of residential premises
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hi Victoria,

    Issue here is that the body corporate is threatening the lockout, not the lessor. Not sure how that would play out. ie: would body corporate be considered an agent of the lessor? I tend to think that might be difficult to prove as the body corporate is not obliged to follow the directions of a single owner.
     

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