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  • #55591
    stratamadness
    Flatchatter

    Hello,

    some time ago, an owner in our building physically changed the direction of a security camera.

    It was so he could not be seen taking over a storage unit that did not belong to him.

    What would you suggest would be an appropriate course of action for this stupid act?

    Thank you.

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by .
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  • #55636
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    some time ago, an owner in our building physically changed the direction of a security camera. It was so he could not be seen taking over a storage unit that did not belong to him. What would you suggest would be an appropriate course of action for this stupid act?

    My first impression is that the offender in question is selfish and not as you suggest, “stupid”.

    As I see it, the offender is interfering with the common property (being the camera) and interfering with another lot’s lawful use of a storage unit.

    The following comes to mind.

    Under the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act, residents must not:

    1. Interfere with or impact another person’s lot, including services provided to them or the common property. This includes doing anything to affect another lot owner’s water, sewage, drainage, gas, electricity, garbage, air conditioning, heating or telecommunications services
    2. cause a nuisance or hazard to another resident, such as playing loud music
    3. use the common property in a way that interferes unreasonably with others in the scheme using and enjoying it.

    This is spelled out as follows:

    STRATA SCHEMES MANAGEMENT ACT 2015 – SECT 153
    Owners, occupiers and other persons not to create nuisance

    153 Owners, occupiers and other persons not to create nuisance

    (1) An owner, mortgagee or covenant chargee in possession, tenant or occupier of a lot in a strata scheme must not:

    (a) use or enjoy the lot, or permit the lot to be used or enjoyed, in a manner or for a purpose that causes a nuisance or hazard to the occupier of any other lot (whether that person is an owner or not), or

    (b) use or enjoy the common property in a manner or for a purpose that interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of the common property by the occupier of any other lot (whether that person is an owner or not) or by any other person entitled to the use and enjoyment of the common property, or

    (c) use or enjoy the common property in a manner or for a purpose that interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of any other lot by the occupier of the lot (whether that person is an owner or not) or by any other person entitled to the use and enjoyment of the lot.

    Common Property – Camera

    You could inform the Strata Committee that the offender is breaching the NSW SSMA [s. 153(1)(b)] by repositioning the common property (camera) without authority and what do they plan to do about it?

    Another lot being inconvenienced

    If the offender is also interfering (and hence inconveniencing by creating a nuisance) with another lot’s lawful use of the storage area, has he/she complained? If not, he/she should inform the Strata Committee that the offender is also in breach of [s. 153(1)(a) and (c)] .

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by .
    #55652
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Note this was lifted chapter and verse from Fair Trading’s website, see https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/strata-and-community-living/strata-schemes/by-laws-in-your-strata-scheme in their reference to “nuisance”.

    I stand corrected, withdraw and apologise.  That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that definition of nuisance meaning anything other than something that can cause actual harm.  Having said that, Fair Trading’s web pages are notoriously unreliable and we’ve had occasion in the past to tell people just to ignore specific advice until the corrected it. The Act certainly doesn’t refer to noise as a nuisance (but it does refer to smoke).

    There is another issue here: at what point does an owners corp  start invoking chapter and verse of the law?  Sometimes it’s more effective just to say stop doing that bad thing,  although on othr occasions you might need to remind people that there are laws by which they are expected to abide.  I suppose it depends on the issue and the people involved.

    The problem with invoking  the laws that you have suggested is that there is nothing in the specific wording that clearly tells the miscreant exactly where they have gone wrong.  That could lead to endless discussion and debate whereas a simple “Move your stuff or lose it” note, citing the Unrecovered Goods Act, spells out exactly what can be done with the stuff.

    Finally, please do me a favour and stop referring to yourself in the third person in replies.  We can see who’s responding at the top of each post.

     

    #55647
    TrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter

    Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for posting my earlier contribution notwithstanding you had reservations. Allow me to clarify a couple of points:

    1. Your point on determining ownership of the storage unit is indeed Job #1. Who owns the storage unit? The Owners’ Corp? The lot owner (on title) or the lot owner (via exclusive use). If via exclusive use, what conditions were placed on the said lot owner?

    2. As to TrulE’s inclusion of “loud music” in the paragraph:

    Other important responsibilities of strata residents

    
There are other obligations for strata residents under the Act. Residents must not:

    * 
interfere with or impact another person’s lot, including services provided to them or the common property. This includes doing anything to affect another lot owner’s water, sewage, drainage, gas, electricity, garbage, air conditioning, heating or telecommunications services
;

    * cause a nuisance or hazard to another resident, such as playing loud music; and

    *
 use the common property in a way that interferes unreasonably with others in the scheme using and enjoying it.

    Note this was lifted chapter and verse from Fair Trading’s website, see https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/strata-and-community-living/strata-schemes/by-laws-in-your-strata-scheme in their reference to “nuisance”.

    The matter of “nuisance” (ie “inconvenience”) was considered recently by the NSW Supreme Court and it was found that
    * The mere causing of inconvenience was not necessarily an actionable nuisance. Instead, the reasonable and ordinary use of land may be a good indicator of whether a nuisance within section 153(1)(a) of the Act has been created; and

    * Substantial interference with another owner needs to be established

    see The Owners Strata Plan No 2245 v Veney [2020] NSWSC 134 (Veney Case), the Supreme Court of NSW

    Which again brings us to the key point: who is being inconvenienced  – a lot owner of the Owners’ Corp – by what seems to be the unauthorised use of a storage unit.

    #55630
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    First, let’s establish some facts. Is the storage facility common property or lot property?  If it’s lot property, does the owner know or care?

    If it’s common property, it’s easy.  You put a notice on the storage room saying they are abandoned goods and, under the terms of the Uncollected Goods Act (1995) the owner has seven days (or 14 or whatever you choose) to remove them or they will be removed by the committee, and may be sold, given to charity or stored in commercial storage at the owners expense.

    If you know who the storage thief is, you send the notice to them. Do not give into any threats of legal action or whatever. The only appropriate response to that kind of bullying in “bring it on”.

    If the area is unused common property, consider leasing it to the storage thief on favourable terms (maybe 50 percent of the going rate for commercial storage locally).

    If the storage is a privately owned store, then the lot owner can deal with it themselves, possibly using the same methods.

    On the question of the security camera, that could be hard to prove and therefore hard to take action over.  Of course, if there was a second security camera …

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by .
    #55638
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    My first impression is that the offender in question is selfish and not as you suggest, “stupid”.  As I see it, the offender is interfering with the common property (being the camera) and interfering with another lot’s lawful use of a storage unit. The following comes to mind …

    I have had conflicting thoughts over your post and at one point considered binning it completely.  My main problem is that you start with an interpretation of the law which is not strictly correct, then there’s the fact that you are quoting law that may be relevant in some regards but not in others.

    For instance, you have intepreted Section 153 to include loud music as a “nuisance”. That is not part of strata law and the word “nuisance”, in strata law, does not mean merely something that is annoying.  Quoting the law on interference with provision of services is also not relevant.

    I am not a lawyer but I would think the solution to this would lie in Section 6 of the Act which deals with common property and the ability for the owners corporation to  licence its use to owners.

    Telling other users to follow a course of action based on a false premise is very dangerous and for that reason I initially deleted this post.  I have reinstated it to show you and other users where you have erred, in my opinion.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by .
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