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A friend in a small apartment block in Sydney recently told me a story that shows just how bad things can get when you choose to not only ignore your visitor parking by-laws, but ride (or drive) roughshod over them.
A resident in this block has two cars but only one parking spot so, it seems, she “managed” this arithmetic problem by the liberal and illegal use of visitor parking, figuring that no one was monitoring it too closely and so she could get away with it.
This proved to be the case until she took herself overseas for several months, leaving car number one in her official spot but parking the other one in a visitor slot.
Due some bona fide visitors parking in the other spots (inconsiderate b***s!) she had to use a ‘disabled’ spot.
But that was OK. She’d instructed her almost grown-up son to move the car every couple of days, so that her by-law breaching activities would remain undetected.
Except … well, my friend isn’t sure what happened but Sonny-boy never got round to it. Or maybe he did it a couple of times and then it became too much of a chore.
Or maybe he was outraged by his mother’s lack of community spirit and/or concern for people with genuine mobility issues and decided to sabotage the effort. Just joking. He was slack, is the most likely reason.
Anyway, the car sat in the disabled visitor spot for days, then weeks, gathering dust not to mention dirty looks.
So the strata committee, thinking it had been abandoned, put the prescribed ‘move it or lose it’ stickers on the vehicle. These are posters defined by strata regulations, telling the owners they had five days to remove the car or it would be towed.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Under section 34 of the NSW strata regulations, the owners corp can have a motor vehicle moved to another part of common property or to “the nearest place to which it may be lawfully moved”.
The tow truck company said, “OK, we’ll move it, but it has to go to our yard for safe keeping. We are not just moving it out on to the street because it won’t be safe there. Your call.”
The regs also say, “for that purpose (moving it) the owners corporation is taken to be the owner of the motor vehicle”. So the committee said “fine – take it away.”
Now, when she comes back from holiday, the lady who thinks the word ‘visitor’ in the phrase ‘visitor parking’ means “free” is going to find her car gone and a bill for its removal and storage.
Can they do that? The Tribunal (NCAT) can order that the owner of a car towed under this regulation pays the owners corp reasonable costs incurred in doing so.
I’m guessing the kind of person who parks for months in a disabled visitor car spot will fight tooth and nail not to pay the tow truck bills. But there’s one thing we know for sure – one slacker son has a bit of explaining to do.
Recalcitrant parkers at my place have returned to their car to find a 3 x 5 inch sticker stuck to the drivers side window with my hand written note advising them of their errant ways. The 10 minutes it takes them to remove it usually gets them thinking about future breaches. If you do something similar you must not make it dangerous for them to drive away with impaired visibility, so avoid areas like the windscreen or side mirrors.
The Owners Corporation and/or the committee doesn’t get to decide which of their by-laws and which parts of strata law to enforce … at least, not without repercussions.
Under section 232 (2) of the Act (below), you can take your Owners Corp to NCAT (via mediation at Fair Trading) if they have refused to enforce by-laws or have failed to do so withing two months of being asked.
Application to Fair Trading for mediation may be enough to prompt them to review their actions (or inaction) when they realise they have a duty to enforce by-laws. If they don’t want the by-laws in their current form then they should try to change them through the proper channels. Otherwise, they must take action or face NCAT orders to do so.
232 Orders to settle disputes or rectify complaints
(2) Failure to exercise a function
For the purposes of this section, an owners corporation, strata committee or building management committee is taken not to have exercised a function if:
(a) it decides not to exercise the function, or
(b) application is made to it to exercise the function and it fails for 2 months after the making of the application to exercise the function in accordance with the application or to inform the applicant that it has decided not to exercise the function in accordance with the application.
I’m cleaning-up a townhouse prior to settlement and don’t go there very often. However, I found a car with Queensland number plates parked in my designated space. I left a polite note on the windscreen. If it’s still there on Monday I’ll email other owners asking whose visitor it is.
Question: When does letting its tyres down become acceptable?
Question: When does letting its tyres down become acceptable?
It becomes unacceptable when the owner of the car drives off, not realising they have a flat tyre, crashes and either injures or kills someone.
Apart from questions of criminal damage etc, there are two problems with immobilising or vandalising an illegally parked car 1. The car can’t move so that defeats the purpose. 2. the “victim” knows where you live.
The most effective response I have come across so far was a polite note that simply said “This is not your space – don’t park here again.” left on the windscreen, held in place by a house brick.
when living in Lane Cove we had 4 visitor spaces that were repeating being used by our neighbours and our tenants even to the point of having one tenant put a car cover on her car and leave car for weeks we left notes polite, strata manager sent a letter, still no movement so we put note with brick saying move this car and do not return or the brick will be inside your car next time…. that did the trick.
there was also a tow truck driver who lived across the road who had trouble getting his truck into the space on his property and would park on the street but with parking a premium in Lane Cove, so at all hours he would use our visitor parking – again notes both rude and polite- lipstick on the drivers side window. enter the trusty brick but this time with glued old keys – he had a bright shiny red tow truck, brick – note – keys – well this did the trick, asking this towie to not park was not an option…. *shiver, yuk*
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