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Kids on common property
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1 Of 8
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05/08/2018 - 6:40 am
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Hi, I’m unable to find a similar thread to answer my question, so I’m making a new post. 

I own a villa in a complex of 8. I have lived here for 9 years and have been on the EC from the beginning. About 3 years ago, new owners moved into one of the lots and have made it clear they don’t like kids. I’m forced to keep my windows and doors closed or they’ll complain about noise each and every day. 

They also  quote nonexistent bylaws and call themselves the presidents, even though we have not voted for one.

My child is 9yo and used to be able to quietly ride his scooter/bike on the driveway (under my constant supervision) without an issue until these owners moved in. Since then they have verbally attacked me and my child over and over again, about him riding on the driveway. (The driveway is common property ofcourse). 

Now, there IS a sign on the letterboxes that says ‘No riding of skateboards and bicycles or playing on the driveway’. That same sign also states ‘no parking on the driveway’, which these people ignore. They’ve also held many large garage sales on the driveway. Everyone flogs the bylaws and ignores the signs here.

However, I contacted our strata manager to check on the bylaws and  making sure I wasn’t breaking any. According to her, there is no bylaw in place that prevents my child from riding on the driveway as long as I supervise him closely. She said kids are kids and they ride bikes and play outside. Common sense she reckons. 

I took her word for it. 

Now, my son hasn’t played on the driveway for 6 months as he’s worried about being attacked again. Yet yesterday he asked me if he could ride his scooter for a few minutes before it got dark. I agreed as long as he stayed within my view and reach..

Unfortunately, within the first minute these owners came outside and started to record and photograph my son and said they didn’t need parental consent to do this in public places and on common property. They ranted about  their plan to stop me from getting onto the EC this year, so that they can write up and register new bylaws that prevent kids from playing on common property under any and all circumstances

My question is as follows: Can they actually do this? Can they vote against having an owner on the EC? Can they set up such restrictive bylaws without the consent of all owners? Can they attack a child on common property because they don’t agree with the parent? 

They also claim my son doing his homework in our own small courtyard, is causing noise pollution. I have to keep him inside at all times. 

And for the record  my son is NEVER unsupervised. They cannot claim my son is all by himself without me watching him. 

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JimmyT
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05/08/2018 - 10:35 am
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1 Of 8 said
Now, there is a sign on the letterboxes that says ‘No riding of skateboards and bicycles or playing on the driveway’,  but according to our strata manager, there is no bylaw in place that prevents my child from playing on the driveway as long as I supervise him. 

Remove the sign as it has been placed on common property without permission.

My son hasn’t played on the driveway for 6 months now as he’s worried about being attacked again.

Talk to the police about warning the neighbours about the possibility of getting an AVO against the neighbours. Verbal harassment is covered by AVOs

… these men came outside and started to record and photograph my son and said they didn’t need parental consent to do this in public places and on common property.

Common property is not a public place – there is a significant difference. They can’t do this and not expect to get into trouble. 

The photographing and recording of children is a whole other issue – your neighbours might want to think about the consequences of a complaint to police. 

They said they plan to stop me from getting onto the EC this year, so that they can write up and register new bylaws that prevent kids from playing on common property under any and all circumstances. Can they actually do this?

If they have a majority of votes (by unit entitlement) they can elect their own committee at the AGM, so yes to the first issue.

As far as changing the by-law is concerned, that would require a special resolution and that would mean that not more than 25 percent of the votes (by UEs) were cast against it.

In real terms, all you need is two other owners to agree with you and that would block any new by-law. You might only need one other owner if your combined UEs add up to more than 26 percent

Can they vote against having me on the EC?

If they have the support of a majority, they can vote for others instead of you, and maybe reduce the size of the EC so that only their nominees are elected. In short, you need to get four other owners onside to secure your position

Can they set up such restrictive bylaws without the consent of all owners? Or would that fall under the grey area of harsh, unconscionable or oppressive bylaws? 

As explained above, they would need the support of five other owners (depending on the UEs) to pass a by-law.  You could challenge the by-law on the above grounds at NCAT but that could go either way.

This latest verbal attack (on common property by the way) has now triggered a lot of anxiety in my son. He’s very worried that his mum is going to get arrested, fined or attacked if he walks outside. He says won’t go outside to put the bin out or to check the mail anymore. 

See previous comment about the police but don’t expect them to adjudicate on strata law.  This is about your and your son being abused and intimidated by aggressive neighbours who are photographing and filming him without your permission. 

Having said all that, how noisy is this scooter?  Presumably noisy enough to draw residents out of their homes.  If that’s the case, can’t you just get a quieter one?

And if there is a noise issue, then the neighbours have access to proper channels along which to pursue complaints.  Their behaviour is not acceptable in any community.

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05/08/2018 - 10:46 am
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The scooter is just a normal $40,- Razor push scooter. They consider my son doing homework in our own courtyard, already noise pollution. Even his iPad on a low volume level is too much. I have my windows and doors closed at all times and my son no longer goes outside. He’s too worried about me getting into trouble. 

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Sir Humphrey
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05/08/2018 - 5:00 pm
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This is outrageous. A child riding a scooter on a residential driveway during daylight hours is very unlikely to be causing unreasonable noise. Instead, this is normal life. People cannot expect to live in close quarters with others and see and hear nothing of them. I enjoy seeing and hearing the children of various neighbours riding their bikes and scooters on the path past our units. 

Follow JT’s advice re ‘doing the numbers’. If you talk to your neighbours, you might find they have been told off for other imaginary infringements too. 

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Austman
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05/08/2018 - 7:56 pm
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I think there’s a mix of issues about noise and safety. 

While the OP states noise is a complaint issue in some circumstances, it seems not to be the main issue for scooter use on the driveway?

If the existing by-law was:

7 Children playing on common property in building
An owner or occupier of a lot must not permit any child of whom the owner or occupier has control to play on common property within the building or, unless accompanied by an adult exercising effective control, to be or to remain on common property comprising a laundry, car parking area or other area of possible danger or hazard to children.

Or

8 Children playing on common property
(1) Any child for whom an owner or occupier of a lot is responsible may play on any area of the common property that is designated by the owners corporation for that purpose but may only use an area designated for swimming while under adult supervision.

(2) An owner or occupier of a lot must not permit any child for whom the owner or occupier is responsible, unless accompanied by an adult exercising effective control, to be or remain on common property that is a laundry, car parking area or other area of possible danger or hazard to children.

Would either of those (the old and the new model by-laws for NSW) actually allow for a child to play on a scooter on a common property driveway?

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7ate10
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05/08/2018 - 9:13 pm
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You have already asked this question on Whirlpool: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au…..?t=2743940

However, you have changed the facts so that the people here agree with you.

 

Regards,

7ate10

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JimmyT
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05/08/2018 - 9:58 pm
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7ate10 said
You have already asked this question on Whirlpool … however, you have changed the facts so that the people here agree with you.

There’s a lot of very aggressive people over there, many of whom seem to have no idea how strata works.  Accusing people of bad parenting is an example of the “piling on” that people seem to enjoy a lot on social media these days.

Regarding the question of “changing the facts” – if that’s what has happened  – I don’t see the point if what readers want is advice. 

We can only advise people on the facts as given; if they don’t tell us the whole story then they only have themselves to blame if our advice is inappropriate.

I think this issue has been covered enough and I am now closing the discussion.

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