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VIC Unit Block and Common Property

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Peter A, 28 June 2015.

  1. Peter A

    Peter A Member

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    Hi,

    I live in a block of units where (a) all yards and balconies are common property, and (b) some common property areas are only accessible via private property - for example, a shared storeroom off another owners garage.

    This property was built several decades ago and presumably the planning permit guidelines were less stringent.

    There has always been an understanding among owners that each has the exclusive use of the common area (yard or balcony) in closest proximity to their unit. There is the possibility that this may be threatened by the conduct of one or more owners.

    So my question is: if this situation was tested at a VCAT hearing, would any owner be granted the unconditional use of any common area, including those elsewhere on the property? Could one owner effectively "have their cake and eat it too", or would the tribunal be more likely to consider what's "fair and reasonable".

    Many thanks
     
  2. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    The division and use of common areas in strata scheme property is largely determined by what is agreed to by the owners' corporation.
    VCAT would try to construe the existing agreement and respect that, so long as it didn't breach any legislation.

    Have a look at this blog post for more information about strata schemes and owners corporations: Body Corporate (Owners Corporation) Basics in NSW - Legal Blog - LawAnswers.com.au
     
  3. Peter A

    Peter A Member

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    Thanks for your reply Ivy.

    In my Body Corporate, there is a lack of common sense and courtesy at times. If there wasn't, passing a set of by-laws re: use of yards and balconies would give certain owners some peace of mind (and prevent a potentially escalating, confrontational war).
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    If you want to avoid confrontation and don't mind having a potentially adverse finding, going to VCAT is the best option.

    Licenses are a good way to get unconditional use of common property but does require a majority (100%?) approval from owners.
     
  5. Peter A

    Peter A Member

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    I guess I'd be curious to know in advance how VCAT would rule on this - ie. in the absence of any by-laws, could it be 'open slather' on some or all common property - even if it comes at the expense of another owner's privacy, property value, etc.

    Anyway, I'm just contemplating a strategy for what may come. Many thanks for those replies.
     

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