With an increasing number of Australians now residing in apartment
complexes, certain activities that residents used to freely carry out in
freehold house has become a contentious topic of discussion among a number of
Yes, we are talking about washing and cleaning of residents vehicles
within the grounds of the complex. Interestingly, some developers have allowed
and accounted for this exact need with the creation of a designated washing bay
when the Body Corporate was first created. The majority of developers, however,
did not take this into account and the necessary resources required to
accommodate them are not available. This is easily distinguished in many
complexes by the lack of proper drainage, dedicated parking bay, and the availability
of water; to allow for residents to properly wash their vehicles. Some
buildings do not have adequate space to allow for additional parking bays for
visitors or contractors due to size or very strict allocation of land during
the construction phase.
This has all lead to the current question for Body Corporates, whether
the Body Corporate should allow vehicle washing on-site, or should they
regulate activity as a whole. There are two main vocal points to this topic, In
one hand there is a legitimate concern surrounding nuisance on the common
property by way of mess from the washing i.e. soap bubbles and water splashing
on common grounds that may track into other areas in the complex depending on
the design of the building. While on the other hand, there is push back from
residents that feel their rights are being impeded by the Body Corporate to
perform such a basic activity.
There are strong reasons as to why this should be discussed at the Body
Corporate level. The first reason is to cost incurred from the increased water
usage. Not all owners will wash their vehicle in the same frequency and
periods. Some owners may require washing more than the rest, it is not possible
to police the water usage. It is also a question as to how the Body Corporate
should manage the increase in cost of common water usage.
Another concern for the Body Corporate would be, how to ensure that the
Body Corporate is not held liable for potential issue with the
council/PowerWater drainage system due to residents' excess washing water that
may contain restricted chemicals. If it is found that there is an impact and
cost that is sustained on the Council/PowerWater drainage, how can the Body
Corporate regulate this fairly. For example disinfectant waste water is not
permitted be washed down the public stormwater drainage.
Coming together to discuss this amicably would be the best option,
especially if it can be tabled at a committee meeting so other members of the
Body Corporate can be informed of the progress when the committee meeting
minutes are distributed. If it is physically not possible to continue allowing
for washing of vehicle to occur on the common property, it should at least be
discussed thoroughly to ensure all parties are aware of the concerns and
reasons as to why restrictions to this activity may be implemented. Or if the
discussion has resulted a positive outcome, a compromise or an arrangement can
be made to ensure the activity is regulated and rules are adhered to and
enforced where necessary.
If you are currently experiencing the same struggle in your Body
Corporate, start with reviewing the facts about your common property and see if
you can request some support from your Strata Manager in getting the Body
Corporate to discuss this topic.
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Monday, 12 April 2021