UPDATE: On Tuesday 14 November 2023, the Queensland Government passed new body corporate laws. The new laws will commence on a date yet to be announced, which is likely to be in early 2024.
Read more about the new laws regarding towing here.
One of the most contentious issues in strata properties is the perennial problem of residents using visitor car parking spaces.
While the sight of a resident’s car continually occupying a visitor space contrary to the by-laws can cause tensions to rise, there is no quick fix to enforcing those by-laws.
Tempting as it may be, a body corporate cannot have a vehicle towed without first obtaining an order from the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management.
And as a recent adjudication from the BCCM shows, that process takes time, patience and evidence.
In brief, an occupier of a lot was parking their vehicle in a visitor space on a regular basis, contravening the scheme’s parking by-laws.
But rather than immediately engage a contractor to tow the offending vehicle, the body corporate started a process that would take 18 months to secure the necessary approval to allow that action to take place should the resident offend again.
The lengthy process points to the importance of clear communication between a body corporate and a resident who it believes is contravening a by-law, as well as the need to keep a record of correspondence and a log of photographic evidence.
It’s worth looking at the timeline of activity it took to finally reach an adjudication from the BCCM:
So, after 18 months the body corporate secured approval to have a vehicle towed without the need to come back for further adjudication. The BCCM adjudicator was at pains to point out the legal complexity of the process and the importance of seeking sound advice.
The problem of people parking in visitor spaces contrary to by-laws is unlikely to ever go away, but there are remedies available to a body corporate to seek a solution. However, it will require patience, a record of correspondence and proper evidence to back up the claims.