Flat Chat Forum By-laws and outlaws Current Page

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    We have an owner of a townhouse who has turned their garage into a hairdressing salon. Does anyone knowing there are any by laws prohibiting this?  Our local council website says you can operate a salon from home without council approval, but says nothing about a strata managed complex. 

    I have asked out strata manager, but they are on holidays. Any help would be much appreciated. 

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • #20577
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    Yes there are a number of laws prohibiting this.

    The issue is not so much whether it is a strata complex, but rather whether the use of the garage as a hairdressing salon is an approved use.  In other words, the garage would have council approval to be used as a garage, not a hairdressing salon.

    There are quite serious consequences where someone uses a building or part of a building in breach of its approved use – it is illegal and there are a number of considerations that flow from that.  In this case, it is probably more serious because the person is using the garage for commercial purposes.  It is highly likely that the Council would not give approval for its use as a salon, as there would be a number of requirements it would have to meet.  Even before that, the strata would have to give permission for any application for the owner to use the garage as a hairdressing salon and I doubt that they would do that.

    In terms of the strata, if it is aware that an area within the scheme is being used contrary to its approved use, and does nothing about it, then it can be held liable as well.  I suggest you contact the Council and seek urgent advice and then advise the strata manager that this needs to be stopped.

    #20595
    Cosmo
    Flatchatter

    Just to add to scotlandx’s answer, I would imagine there are possible OHS consequences and responsibilities that the Owner’s Corporation need to be aware of.

    See https://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/newlegislation2012/Pages/strata-title-body-corporate.aspx

     

    Allowing a hairdressing business to be conducted, even in a garage, has to be close to getting the whole strata lumped with extra responsibilities imho.

     

     

    #20598
    Millie
    Flatchatter

    And further to scotlandx’s email, if, let’s say, Council issues orders to ‘stop’ the illegal non-Residential operation (hairdressing salon or whatever), and the Exec Committee writes back to Council (on behalf of the OC) challenging Council’s orders, are they not landing every member of the OC in very, very deep ‘poo’ (can we swear?) if it ends up in Court?

    If the Courts find in Council’s favour, how do we then split the whopping fines amongst OC Lot Owners, when some owners have been against the ‘illegal’ operation all along?

    Just got to love the twists and turns in Strata Land…something to ponder every day!

    #20601
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    It isn’t a matter between the Council and the OC, it is a matter between the Council and the owner.  The Council is responsible for administering the regulations, not the OC, and the Council enforces those regulations against the person who is doing the illegal act, i.e. the owner.  They wouldn’t issue orders against the OC unless the OC was doing something illegal on the common property.

    If the Council is told that the owner is using the area for an unapproved (illegal) purpose, it is then up to them to enforce their regulations.  All kittycat needs to do is notify the Council that she is concerned that the owner is running a hairdressing salon out of their garage.  Step away and watch what happens.

    However – as I said previously, it becomes more complicated if the EC/OC are aware that someone is using a part of the scheme illegally and they do nothing about it.  Strictly speaking – they should then notify the Council.  If there is evidence that they are/were aware and something happens, then they could be held liable for any consequences.  Also – it can void the OC’s insurance.

    We had just that issue – we found out that an owner was using part of their lot illegally.  The primary concerns for us were liability of the OC and the impact it would have on our insurance.

    #20630
    braveheart
    Flatchatter

    And just to add even further, our OC has just dealt with this exact issue (illegally operating a hairdressing business in a residential strata unit), although this particular ‘salon’ was being conducted quite blatantly in a bedroom! Needless to say, Strata Manager was notified and Local Council as well. Result: the selfish perpetrator was sent a please explain letter from Strata and Council also wrote a strongly worded letter of warning about the consequences of persisting with the activity. The activity appears to have ceased for the moment but who can fathom the twisted minds of people such as this? Well done to Council and Strata but it is worth noting also that Council expected us to gather the evidence (photos and stat decs). Surely a timely visit from a council ranger (or simply a call to make a hair appointment!) would catch them red-handed, so to speak? It is their own regulations that are being breached after all.

    #20632
    Boronia
    Flatchatter

     Our local council website says you can operate a salon from home without council approval, but says nothing about a strata managed complex. 

     

    Is it really a simple as this?

    #20633
    braveheart
    Flatchatter

    Hi Boronia,

    Our Strata building is zoned R2 Low Density Residential. According to our Council’s Local Environmental Plan a hair salon in a Strata unit zoned R2 cannot meet the requirements necessary to be deemed a complying business according the relevant Local Government and Public Health Acts. In any event, a hair salon in a strata unit contravenes By-Law 19 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 – Schedule 1:

     

    “An occupier of a lot must notify the owners corporation if the occupier changes the existing use of the lot in a way that may affect the insurance premiums for the strata scheme (for example, if the change of use results in a hazardous activity being carried out on the lot, or results in the lot being used for commercial or industrial purposes rather than residential purposes)”.

    https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ssma1996242/sch1.html

    So yes, it really is that simple (and was in our case).

     
    #20634
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster



    @braveheart
    said:
    In any event, a hair salon in a strata unit contravenes By-Law 19 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 – Schedule 1:

    “An occupier of a lot must notify the owners corporation if the occupier changes the existing use of the lot in a way that may affect the insurance premiums for the strata scheme (for example, if the change of use results in a hazardous activity being carried out on the lot, or results in the lot being used for commercial or industrial purposes rather than residential purposes)”.

    This is true … but only if your scheme has that by-law in place.  These model by-laws only apply by default to schemes registered before 1996.  After ’96, it’s whatever by-laws you adopted at your first AGM and then added, removed or amended thereafter.  Admittedly, the chances are that you WILL have this but it’s worth checking.

    One of the reasons it’s there is because of the profound effect even one business attracting trade from outside the building could have on OH&S liabilities. 

     

     

    #20644
    braveheart
    Flatchatter

    Thanks Jimmy T (and other responders), yes we certainly do have by-law 19 in place and it was Council’s advice to first proceed on that basis. No permission was sought from the EC (which, of course, would mean their intention to operate a hair salon would become known), and I believe consent would not be possible by the EC in any case because such consent would also contravene Council and Government regulations. Since, after a reasonable time frame, no explanation was forthcoming from the offenders, Council did not hesitate to act in notifying the owner concerned of their strong opposition to a hairdressing business in Residential Strata. 

    Thanks again,

    braveheart

    #21240

    Just thought I’d add an update to this situation…..

    it seems our strata manager contacted the owner who claimed their salon is a ‘hobby’, not a business. I doubt it would be a registered business with an ABN, so there is really no way of telling if it really is a business as all dealings would be cash. 

    The strata manager said there would need to be a change to our insurance as we a residential block and the insurance reflects that. If the owner wanted to pay the extra premiums, they could but when they are claiming its a hobby, it’s probably not likely. 

    Feeling very frustrated….

     

    #21243
    Millie
    Flatchatter

    The regulatory body is your Local Council. My experience is that absolutely no one/nobody can or will do anything about this except Council, who are responsible for seeing that the Residential Development Consent is adhered to.

    You need to start taking photos and keeping a record of what is going on – Councils don’t have the budget to do a ‘stake out’, and you’ll be abused like there is no tomorrow for doing this – and give this to Council with a request that they issue an order to stop the ‘Illegal Use’.

    You can try and scare off the offender: a breach of the Development Consent is a breach of the Environmental Planning and Protection Act and fines are currently up to $1.1 million.

    Go to Council. And good luck! This is no different to using a Residential building for short-term letting or a business in prostitution – it’s not Residential.

    #21247

    Their is a quicker way to get a result (even if it’s a hobby), inform the Tax office that they are earning an income which they are not declaring to the taxman (a virtual certainty if it’s a cash business).

    Just for the record the No is  1800 060 062  YellYell

    #21264
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    Your fastest route is to report it to the Council, you can do that yourself, you don’t have to ask the strata to do it.  There is no way they would be allowed to run a hairdressing salon in a garage.  The Council should slap them with an order to cease forthwith.

     

     

    #21271
    Boronia
    Flatchatter

    @kiwipaul said:
    Their is a quicker way to get a result (even if it’s a hobby), inform the Tax office that they are earning an income which they are not declaring to the taxman (a virtual certainty if it’s a cash business).

    Just for the record the No is  1800 060 062  YellYell

    Income from a “hobby” is not usually taxable. You might have to be able to convince the ATO that it is a hobby, not a part time business. You are not able to claim any deductions against hobby income.

     

    #31080

    You can run a salon from a residential property, as long as it’s primary use is a residence.  Just like you can run any legal business from a home office.  It is NOT illegal.

    What is illegal is to have a house in a residential zoned area, and operate any business from that, without it being your primary place of residence.  I don’t know requirements of strata complex

    You would have to have it registered with the local council for compliance to health regulations.  Some councils perform annual inspections, others just do surprise inspections.  Most require an annual re-registration.  They will also as for certficate of currency for business insurance etc.

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Flat Chat Forum By-laws and outlaws Current Page