Your neighbour may have up and moved out, leaving a car or rubbish on the strata property. Perhaps you don’t know who left the items there in the first place. Can you simply throw rubbish out? And what can you do with a car that’s blocking the driveway to the carpark? Here, we cover the process for dealing with abandoned goods on a strata property.
The first step: Identifying the items
There is a set procedure for dealing with abandoned items on a strata property, which depends on the nature of the items. The owners corporation of the strata scheme may dispose of abandoned objects if the items are perishable (i.e. food), consist of only rubbish or have had a disposal notice left for the correct time without their owner removing or collecting them, as below.
The second step: Leaving a disposal notice
Your owners corporation must give sufficient notice of the intent to move or dispose of abandoned items. This notice needs to be A4-sized or bigger as well as weather-resistant, so a laminated printout can work well. This notice should include a description of the items, the date and time you put the notice in place, the date and time of planned removal if the items are not moved and contact details for either a member of the strata committee, a delegate of the owners corporation or the strata managing agent. The notice must be displayed with the goods for at least 5 days prior to them being removed by the owners corporation. If the items are blocking an entryway or exit to common property, they can be moved by the owners corporation; however, the 5-day notice will still need to be provided before those items are disposed of.
The third step: Disposing of the items
If sufficient notice has been provided and the abandoned items have not been moved or collected, then the owners corporation may dispose of these items in any lawful manner including throwing them out, giving them to a charity shop or selling them.
Any proceeds of a sale must be paid into the strata scheme’s administrative fund, and the owners corporation will need to keep a record of this sale for at least 12 months including a description of the goods, the date of sale, and details of the purchaser and auctioneer (if applicable). The person or entity who purchases the item becomes the owner of that item and no further claims can be made for it. If the original owner then wishes, they can apply to NCAT for an order that would require the owners corporation to pay the amount of the sale minus any costs of the sales process.
What if the abandoned item is a car?
The process for an abandoned vehicle is much the same as with abandoned goods. The owners corporation may move the vehicle to the closest lawful parking place if the vehicle is blocking an entry or exit before leaving a removal notice. If not, then the owners corporation must give the minimum 5-day notice period as above before relocating the vehicle. They can also apply to NCAT for an order that the vehicle’s owner pay the reasonable costs of moving that vehicle.