Guidance for body corporates of a residential development that want to add to or amend the default operational rules in the Regulations.

Operational rules help the body corporate 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 kinds of matters people have had disputes about in the past, why these disputes arose and whether rules could help prevent disputes from arising in the future
  • what kinds of facilities are there for everyone to use and whether rules are a way to protect or ensure access to those facilities
  • what kind of behaviour is acceptable in the development and what kind of behaviour is not
  • what rules are fair to all unit owners. 

Common property

The body corporate 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. Unit title developments can have a wide range of common property, for example:

  • recreational facilities such as swimming pools, spas and saunas, gyms
  • outdoor facilities such as lawns and gardens, roof-top terraces, driveways
  • other facilities such as halls, common rooms
  • building facilities such as lobbies, lifts, rubbish and recycling facilities, security
  • chattels such as lobby furniture, gardening or cleaning equipment, artwork
  • infrastructure such as aerials, satellite dishes, telecommunications wiring.

Depending on what kind of common property you have, more operational rules might be necessary. For example some developments make rules about,

  • hours of use of recreational or other facilities
  • whether parts of the common property can be used as a garden
  • conditions of use of certain facilities
  • 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)
  • how often chattels are cleaned
  • 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)
  • whether there are rubbish or recycling facilities in the development and how rubbish or recycling is disposed of
  • security measures, including whether there are security codes or cards for accessing the building and restrictions on who these are given to
  • if there are car parking facilities on the common property, where owners and guests are allowed to park
  • health and safety in using common property, such as safe areas for children to play
  • whether there are restrictions on signage, such as “for sale” signs (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). 

Units

The way people use their units can impact on other unit owners or the common property.

Under the 2010 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:

  • where owners or occupiers can hang out washing
  • whether owners or occupiers are allowed to have pets or whether certain kinds of pets are allowed
  • 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
  • prohibiting parties after certain hours
  • restrictions on keeping hazardous materials in units
  • pest control in units
  • behaviour of unit owners, occupiers and guests. 

Administration and governance

The body corporate may make rules on how it will operate.

The Act and the Regulations contain comprehensive administration and governance rules for unit title developments. You should read the Act and the Regulations before you add new rules about these matters, as you cannot make a rule that contradicts the law.

Other possible rules

Depending on what kind of development you live in, more operational rules might be necessary. For example, some developments make rules about:

  • fire drills and evacuation procedures (the development may be required by law to have these in place)
  • prohibiting the body corporate from unreasonably withholding consent in cases where body corporate consent is required under any operational rules
  • whether the chairperson (or another officer of the body corporate) has additional responsibilities to those outlined in the Regulations.

If the body corporate engages someone to undertake duties on its behalf, such as a professional body corporate manager or building manager, you should exercise caution in making rules that outline their responsibilities. These responsibilities are best established through a contract.