Guidance for body corporates of a commercial development that want to add to or amend the default operational rules in the Regulations.
Operational rules assist the body corporate to govern the development and can help prevent disputes between unit owners and occupiers.
When you are considering what kinds of operational rules you need in your development, you should think about:
- what kind of business the units are used for, such as office space, car parks or accommodation
- whether the units are used by the owner or whether there are leasing arrangements in place
- what kind of duties the body corporate is responsible for undertaking
- what rules are fair to all unit owners.
Units in commercial developments may be leased. In these cases there will usually be formal lease documentation in place between the unit owner and the tenant (for example a deed of lease). This lease documentation will contain additional rights and responsibilities of between the parties to the lease.
Commercial unit title developments can have a wide range of common property and assets, for example:
- building facilities, such as lifts, lobbies, stairwells, rubbish and recycling facilities, loading dock areas
- common facilities, such as staff or customer car parking areas, cafeteria space, shower facilities
- recreational facilities, such as gardens, gyms
- infrastructure, such as fire alarms, aerials, satellite dishes, telecommunications wiring.
The default operational rules can be used to protect the common property from damage or harm and ensure unit owners and occupiers can access the common property.
Depending on what kind of common property you have, more operational rules might be necessary. For example some developments make rules about:
- whether there are carparking facilities on the common property and who is able to use them
- whether there are restrictions on signage, such as advertising (for example, the body corporate may want to protect the common property or external appearance of the development by limiting where signs can be placed. There may also be council by-laws that prohibit signs in certain locations).
- security measures, including whether there are security codes or cards for accessing the building and restrictions on who these are given to
- whether there are restrictions on hours for delivery of goods, documents or other parcels
- whether there are designated smoking areas
- whether there are facilities to be used for specific purposes (such as service lifts or loading docks for moving furniture into or out of units)
- whether there are rubbish or recycling facilities in the development and how rubbish or recycling is disposed of.
The way people use their units can impact on other unit owners or the common property.
Under the Act, unit owners must keep their unit in sufficient repair so that no damage or harm is done to other units or the common property. In addition, the default operational rules state that unit owners can’t create noise that interferes with another person’s right to quiet enjoyment of their unit or interferes with other owners’ or occupiers’ use of the common property.
Depending on what kind of development you live in, more operational rules might be necessary. For example, some developments make rules about:
- whether there are any specific requirements for the use of units, for example, restaurants must have a liquor license, car parks may only be used for car parking
- permitted trading hours (for example for security reasons or as required by local bylaws)
- restrictions on keeping hazardous materials in units
- the external appearance of units, such as whether there are approved colour schemes for painting or rules about signage visible from the unit
- the internal fit-out of units, such as whether particular floor coverings must be used to prevent noise transmission
- restrictions on installing equipment or other fixtures (such as heavy objects)
- details of any preferred suppliers or trades people the body corporate has contracted for servicing units or the common property (for example, an electrician or plumber who unit owners can contact if they have electrical or plumbing issues).