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  • #10874
    Chatterbox
    Flatchatter

    I have just discovered that a unit owner who is on the Committee has put solar panels on the roof of our building.  Whilst this has not taken up our entire roof they have chosen the best position for their panels.  Q1.   In the future what  will happen if other unit owners want a similar opportunity and there is no spare space?  Q2.  Or a new committee decides the roof space should be for solar panels to cover common property electricity costs?  Q3.  Should all the unit owners have been informed of this request?  

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  • #26351
    Digby
    Flatchatter

    Hi, 

    The common area of the roof structure is owned in joint by  the members of the body corp of there strata scheme. They have a say in joint as to what is acceptable.  No one owner of the scheme can install any item on the buidling structure without the consent of the majority & close neighbours & local council regs for hot water, solar panels, saterllite dish. 

    You are correct in question 3. 

    I hope this may of been some assistance  to you. 

    I voluntary assist in the admin of a strata scheme and have lived in strata schemes for approximately 20 years. 

     

    Yours Sincerely,

    Digby

    #26353
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I would take this a stage further and advise that the owners corp needs to take action on this as a matter of urgency.

    Firstly becasue this is effectively a land grab that prebvents other owners or the whole strata scheme from installing solar panels and secondly becasue is the owner sells without a formal by-law in place, the owners corp assumes responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the solar panels.

    I’m sure a compromise can be reached if all parties are willing.  However, the owner should be told in no uncertain terms that if they aren’t prepared to pay for an acceptable by-law covering the installation, they will be ordered to remove it at their expense then billed for any residual damage.

    #26354
    Lady Penelope
    Strataguru

    Apologies if this comment is similar to others as I note several people attempting to assist as I write …

    If I was in your position I would ask to search the Minutes of the Meetings, particularly the General Meeting Minutes, to find out whether the correct procedures were followed which gave approval to the Lot owner to install solar panels on the common property roof.

    Is the roof common property? How was this issue approved: Was a lease or license granted by Special Resolution? What were the terms and conditions that were imposed on the approval?

    The Victorian Owners Corporations Act 2006 at Section 14 states:

    Leasing or licensing of the common property

    By special resolution, an owners corporation may lease or license the whole or any part of the common property to a lot owner or other person.

    Answers to your questions:

    Q1 – These types of approvals are on a first come first served basis. If the common property roof is “full” then unfortunately there is not much you can do about it.

    Q2 – Why don’t you put a Motion on the Agenda that seeks to reserve a space for the common property panels should the Owners Corporation want to install panels at a future time? See Sections 52 and 53 of the Victorian Owners Corporations Act 2006 for the procedure for alterations and improvements to the Common Property by the Owners Corporation.

    Q3 – Yes, most definitely. Owners should not only have been informed, they should have had an input into the approval process via a Special Resolution vote at a General Meeting.

    The Act is here: 

    https://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/oca2006260/index.html

    If you discover that something untoward has occurred then you have the option to use Section 152 of the Act, and the services of VCAT to resolve the issue.

    #26356
    Sir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    I agree with PS and JT.

    If approval has been properly granted to a unit owner for this use of common property then it cannot be revoked except by provisions that may vary from state to state (a special resolution in the ACT).

    As a matter of principle, in spite of PS’s answer to Q.1, I would strongly argue that approval should not be given without either 1) reserving similar areas of roof for each unit that could practically use it, or 2) using an appropriate amount of roof area for a communal PV system first. This comes from the principle that common property should not be given away for the benefit of only one or a few owners if it could be used for the benefit of all. 

    If the OC consumes power for indoor lighting of corridors or underground parking or lifts or air-conditioning, IE daytime use, then it would benefit from a PV system sized to match its daytime consumption and thereby largely avoid paying for daytime electricity use. 

    #26378
    Austman
    Flatchatter

     

    As this is Victoria, it should be noted that committees have considerably more power than some other states.  If the works only affected common property in a minor way, the committee might have decided that a full OC vote was unnecessary.

    I’m reading (because the OP was not informed of the works) that it was a committee only decision.  If so, there should be a record of the decision in the committee minutes.  In Victoria, it’s not compulsory to distribute those minutes to each owner, but they should be in the OC records.

    If only one lot benefits from the system, that lot automatically must maintain it, regardless of its physical location on common or lot property. That’s part of the OC Act in Victoria.

    If it was done by committee decision only, it was poor form of the committee IMO. While it’s quite common to allow lot equipment to be installed on common property, decisions should be fair to all owners.  

    What has been decided by committee only, can be altered by a future committee, or by the OC at a general meeting or of course by VCAT.  So there are some possible options to investigate.

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