Can parking offenders be towed from the common property?

Can parking offenders be towed from the common property?

Under the new strata legislation, the Owners Corporation has finally received new powers to tow vehicles in breach of by-laws.  On the downside, the Owners Corporation must tolerate the offending vehicle for at least five (5) days before it may take any action.

Upon service of a compliant “removal notice”, a car that blocks an exit or entrance or proper use of the common property may now lawfully be moved by the Owners Corporation and the Owners Corporation may make application to NCAT to recover its costs.  The vehicle may be moved to another less obstructive position on the common property or another lawful place off the common property.  However, the car cannot legally be moved until the expiration of a period of at least five (5) days in compliance with the removal notice.  The legal requirements for a removal notice are set out in Regulation 34 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation, 2016 (NSW) and must strictly be observed, lest invalidate the removal notice and risk liability to the vehicle’s owner.

Further, an Owners Corporation enforcing a removal notice should exercise a high degree of care and caution when moving vehicles to avoid liability for any damage caused to an offending vehicle.

The new legislation also enables an Owners Corporation to enter into an agreement with local council in relation to a strata parking area if approved by special resolution.  Then, local council would erect signage on the common property and would be empowered to issue parking infringement notices.  The offending person is guilty of an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 5 penalty units.  A penalty unit varies from state to state, however, the monetary value of a penalty unit in New South Wales is set out in Section 17 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act, 1999 (NSW) and equates to $110 per unit, therefore, the parking fine could be up to $550!

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Please note that this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.