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Is it okay for the SC to write Polices for the scheme then publish the Policy to the Owners? They do this I think in order to avoid taking the “Policy” to the Owners at an EGM and have it approved as a By-Law.
Eg. We have a CCTV system with near 30 cameras; the system was recently updated with new cameras and equipment. Cost around $30K. We have always had some vision streamed into owner’s apartments, six cameras I recall. The new system can stream 9 cameras, cameras displaying the foyer, visitor car parks, post boxes etc.
New Owner arrives on the scene and within 4 or 5 months is on the SC and begins making changes. One is to have the cameras shut down, reason; they are an invasion of privacy. We now only have one camera streamed, just the one showing guests that are dialling in on the internal phone.
We now have a CCTV Policy controlled by custodians.
I don’t know what the situation is in NSW but in QLD the ‘Act’ (the BCCMA) does not provide for a separate rule-making process other than the making of by-laws. The Act and the Standard Module provide the means by which rules governing community titles schemes are to be made, and that is the by-law system.
Committee’s ‘house rules’ are unenforceable. Therefore any committee rules about CCTV are also unenforceable.
The system is based on lot owners having input into the rules under which they are governed, by way of voting and resolution rights. The system requires transparency, so that all owners and potential purchasers are aware of, and can contribute to, the by-laws under which a scheme is governed. Any rule not made in compliance with the by-law regime established by the Act and the applicable regulation module is enforceable and beyond the scope of the Act.
House rules are not enforceable unless they are registered as by-laws in the CMS. By-laws do not take effect (in other words, are not enforceable) until the CMS is registered with the Titles Office.
Re the question of policy vs by-laws, I understand that there is a middle ground. A by-law is created and approved at an AGM/EGM by the Owners Corporation that allows for specific limited rules to be set by the Strata Committee at their meeting, and changed also at the Strata Committee level if required.
An example of this may be the fee charged for something such as a security key. If the price was enshrined in a by-law, then to increase the price say every five year the by-law would have to be replaced. Another example may be the process to be followed for moving in and out. While 80% of people will happily follow the guidance they are given by a Strata Committee / Strata Manager / Building Manager, there is the 20% or so that need the guidance to be enforceable, or they will willfully ignore and inconvenience all around them.
Happy Strata – Not every committee made ‘house rule’ is a reasonable ‘rule’. I have first hand experience of this.
‘House rules’ can and frequently do severely impact on other people’s lives. In that circumstance I would take the route of ignoring the committee made ‘rule’.
In addition, committee ‘rules’ are not easily identified when undertaking due diligence. Hence the need for enforceable and correctly documented by-laws which are easily sourced.
A committee that willfully ignores the legislation is not a good committee.
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