Maintenance of parking spaces | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered
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I'm in a 38-unit scheme on the central coast. Until recently, our gardener would regularly leaf-blow the leaves, dirt, and debris that would accumulate in our allocated parking spaces.
We have all just received notice from the executive committee that it is NOT the gardener's responsibility to undertake this work, and residents must sweep the leaves out of our own parking spaces.
Our scheme does NOT have a by-law / special resolution that makes each owner responsible for the sweeping of their parking space, therefore I believe this latest assertion by our committee is in contravention of section 62 of the act. Comments?
It's a bit of a grey area given that it has been maintained for a period of time - however generally speaking, the actual car spaces are on title and hence your responsibility (much like your balcony - you wouldn't really expect the OC to mop the tiles on the balcony floor), but here's the clincher - the OC is still technically responsible for the cleaning of the visitors car spaces and all of the driveways/bitumen in between the car spaces as this is common property.
I would point this out to the EC and ask what savings, if any, they will get from cleaning parts of the car park (but not others) versus the trade off in having the scheme look shabby: leaves from an owners car space would blow around anyway, so it seems to be counter-intuitive and quite pedantic......
Actually, I was going to ask if the car spaces were common property or were a separate lot or were part of the lot that includes your unit. I know it sounds nuts but I have one space that's part of the apartment lot and another that's separate. Other buildings have car spaces that are common property with usage allocated to the owners. I'm pretty sure there's a different answer to this depending on who actually owns the car spaces.
What about all the dust and leaves that the gardener might blow into a private parking spot as a result of cleaning common roperty?
Would the owner be able to claim compensation from the OC for cleaning up the mess? On a couple of past occasions I have had to ask our cleaner to wash my car after he attcked our undercover parking lot with his blower/
The 38 units are divided into 7 distinct buildings. The resident parking spaces are on ground level, under each building. Each space is allotted to a unit number. There's a separate outdoor visitor area (that's not the issue here).
Our resident parking spaces are "open" like a carport (i.e. there is no garage door, and no form of barrier between adjacent spaces except for the brick walls that separate the actual buildings). Any leaves, dirt, and garden debris is free to blow around to/from the common area driveway and also between adjacent resident spaces.
Each parking space has its own electricity supply which is metered to the relevant unit, and each has an adjacent private storeroom (these are obviously up to each resident to clean).
The committee insists that residents are not permitted to store ANYTHING (e.g. tyres, boxes, furniture, fridges, etc.) in their parking space because it is considered "common property" - such items must be kept in the separate lockup storerooms... so with reference to the "balcony" comparison - with a balcony you can use a balcony any way you like (within reason), and a balcony is an enclosed private space, whereas permitted use of our parking spaces is tightly controlled (i.e. car only and nothing else), which leads me to believe they should be cleaning them.
It's early days yet... haven't seen too many people out there with brooms and most are looking awfully messy already!
It makes a huge difference if the spaces are common property or part of the unit on the unit plan. If common property you might have a special privilege for exclusive use of that space and it might have been granted in exchange for the unit owner taking on maintenance eg. cleaning. I am especially conscious of this because in the ACT it takes an unopposed resolution to grant a special privilege over common property. We had such an arrangement for parking spaces. It was not done properly years ago. We have legal advice that it needs urgent fixing. We took further advice on how to fix it, explained to owners etc. Still a few opposed because they did not accept it was not done right in the first place. This has cost us serious money already, mostly due to the need to deal legally with a few intransigent owners. Tomorrow is the big day of the hearing.
The best thing though is you have a power point metered back to your unit in each space. Great! You are set up for electric cars. I can only charge mine because a neighbour let me run a subsidiary meter in his meter box so I can charge from his unit and pay for the extra on his meter.
When I am not being a 'strataguru' I am a being consulted on DIY conversion of cars to electric drive. My EV has been on the road for over 3 years now. Going great.
It makes a huge difference if the spaces are common property or part of the unit on the unit plan. If common property you might have a special privilege for exclusive use of that space and it might have been granted in exchange for the unit owner taking on maintenance eg. cleaning.
I'm now thinking they're part of the unit - given that each is electrically wired to the relevant unit, each has an enclosed store room running off it, and each store room contains the hot water system for the relevant unit so there are plumbing connections as well. (We even have cases where a resident has been caught out turning on their neighbour's parking space light for extra security, but the neighbour pays the cost !)
I will check with our strata manager. I think we need a special by-law to clarify the situation.
Good luck with your hearing today.
I'm now thinking they're part of the unit -
You shouldn't need to guess, they are part of your unit or they are common property (you have stated their is no relevant bylaw) and you should be able to tell from the plans of the unit. Until you know which you are stuck.
If common property it's OC responsibility to maintain, if part of the lot it's owners responsibility.
However previous posts have stated that the SM MAY use strata fund to maintain items within the lot and this sounds like a sensible use of that ability. BUT what sort of vote would be required to authorize use of these funds is a mystery to me.
Why spend money on a bylaw when common sense solves the problem.
.KP's post is basically correct except for a slight misunderstanding - if you are talking about the strata manager in NSW, you aren't referring to the on-site residential manager but an external professional who looks after the finances and legalities of the building. I can't think of a strata manager in NSW who'd be game to live in a complex that he also manages (but we DO have residential managers in some larger blocks)
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