The young couple at number 64 have people over until 2am every Friday night, the lady down at number 3 has painted a hideous mural on her garage door and you can hear barking every time you walk past number 33 – as resident manager what do you do?
What Does the Law Say?
Under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (‘BCCM Act’) the body corporate (via its committee) has the power to enforce the by-laws by issuing a contravention notice to the breaching resident.
There are two types of contravention notices – one if the behaviour is likely to continue (e.g. a change to the outside of a lot) and another if it is likely to be repeated (e.g. frequent parties causing noise complaints). If the notice is not complied with, the body corporate then has the power to make an application to the Commissioners Office or the Magistrates Court.
The Role of Resident Manager
Under the BCCM Act itself, resident managers do not have any power to enforce by-laws. However, resident managers should look to their caretaking and letting agreement to understand the breadth of their obligations.
Most agreements will say that the resident manager must monitor compliance with the by-laws and advise the body corporate of any serious or persistent breaches.
Whilst your role as resident manager is not to enforce, you are likely to have a duty to the body corporate to make them aware of any breaches, so they can take action.
You cannot monitor compliance of the by-laws without knowing exactly what the by-laws say and what they mean. So, make sure you read up on your by-laws prior to reporting a breach to the body corporate.
It’s About Relationships
Having good relationships with lot owners is the key to a successful management rights business.
You are the middle man between the lot owners and the body corporate – but you don’t want to play the role of policeman. Being an interventionist can be risky and put strain on your good relationships with lot owners.
The best way to preserve your relationships is to focus on your caretaking and letting responsibilities, report any by-law breaches to the body corporate where necessary (ie. the breaches are likely to continue or are frequent) and leave it up to the body corporate to enforce.