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Tenants denied keys by "House Rules"
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13/11/2017 - 5:58 am
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Greetings all, I’ve joined from NSW, the question I have regards the rights of a Strata Scheme Tenant living with a Owners Corporation and whether the Residential Tenancy Act 2010 is still relevant since the Owners Corporation has told me that it isn’t in my particular case. I have lived as a tenant/strata tenant with my wife for over 5 years now in our building when a few months ago we had 1 of 2 car park key fobs withdrawn because of a new house rule. I tried to explain nicely to the OC that under RTA 2010 Section 70 – 2, that we were entitled to each have a key but they said that this legislation did not apply and that as the Owners Corporation and Strata they were covered legally to withdraw keys as they saw fit. They said that the Strata Agent had told them so and legal counsel had concurred and that was that. Furthermore, more my rental agreement was with my landlord and had nothing to do with them. I spoke with my landlord and agent and they said that since Strata had said no that their was nothing they could do. I have a great relationship with my landlord and agent and are reluctant to take them to tribunal. Any advice would be welcomed since I’m interested to know how I can get my other car park fob back….ohh the strata directive is not a by-law, it is a house rule, Thank you 

Lady Penelope

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13/11/2017 - 11:18 am
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There are two issues that arise from your request for advice: (1) the power (or powerlessness) of House Rules, and (2) inconsistencies with other Acts.

House Rules are not by-laws. The Act is silent on House Rules. Only By-laws are enforceable. However, By-laws can only be enforced and be enforceable if they are legal.

This leads on to the second issue of inconsistencies with other Acts.

The RTA has a requirement that each Tenant is to be provided with a key. Even if the OC strengthened their ‘one key per Lot’ position by creating a By-law then this By-law would be unenforceable because it is inconsistent with the RTA.

The Section of the RTA that you are referring to states that:

A landlord or landlord’s agent must give to each tenant named in the
residential tenancy agreement a copy of the key or any other opening
device or information required to open a lock or security device for the
residential premises or common property to which the tenant is entitled
to have access.

SSMA 2015 Section 136 states:

Matters by-laws can provide for
(1) By-laws may be made in relation to the management, administration, control, use or enjoyment of the lots or the common property and lots of a strata scheme.
(2) A by-law has no force or effect to the extent that it is inconsistent with this or any other Act or law.

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13/11/2017 - 2:42 pm
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Lady Penelope, thank you, W.

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16/11/2017 - 1:51 pm
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I’m wondering about the reasoning behind the one-Lot-one-gate-fob rule.

Perhaps there is only one parking space per unit and in the past units with 2 fobs have been parking more than one car inside? (thus the second car/s were taking others parking spots, or parking in inappropriate places)

If that guess is close to correct then only allowing one fob per Lot would seem to be a reasonable, practical response to limit (eliminate?) the problem.

willy1 – I assume the issue for you is that in the past you and your wife have both had your own sets of keys, each with its own fob for the gate. Perhaps the solution is to instead keep the gate fob in the car, rather than on your car keyring.

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16/11/2017 - 6:28 pm
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There is sufficient parking spaces, the owners corporation has a problem with commercial tenants who are supposedly using the visitors parking area daily, my problem is that we already have our own designated parking so why penalise us in order to get at the commercial tenants? There are security issues here as well and the legislation is clear and my question was just to clarify my rights since the OC has decided to just do as they please without considering the rights of others who are suppose to be part of their so called community. The sore point for most strata scheme tenants is that the Owners Corporation Executive seem to actually be the worst offenders when it comes to using the visitors car park because they act as if they have some divine right to the spaces and so many strata tenants aren’t interested in saying anything because we have been told in no uncertain terms that we are renters and they are owners so as a tenant we normally try to stay out of their way….maybe all that mortgage stress is starting to get them 🙂 a lot of renters Australia-wide are possibly looking forward to the coming reset! where parking spaces and RTA 2010 Section 70 will be the least of the Owners Corporations concerns!

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