The impact of (1) Going onto someone’s land without permission. (2) Trespass to goods is wrongful interference with someone’s personal property, for example doing something that harms someone’s computer. (3) Trespass to the person is doing something that interferes with a person’s body without their permission, for example giving a very drunk person a tattoo. to land and driveway obstruction by a motor vehicle may range from temporary Doing something that stops another person fully using and enjoying land they own or occupy. For example, someone burning off smelly rubbish in their backyard might ruin a neighbour’s enjoyment of their garden. See also private nuisance; public nuisance. to major disruption, and self-help mechanisms such as the attachment of wheel clamps, obstructing or otherwise detaining an offending vehicle or demanding payment for the A document signed by parties ending a court action. The party who began the action agrees to drop it, often in exchange for a payment by the other party. Also called terms of settlement. of that vehicle is an A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). under the Road Safety A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1986 (Vic) (‘RS Act’). The model rules also prohibit obstruction of common property.
Police, council officers and the A body corporate created by registration of a plan of subdivision or a plan of strata or cluster subdivision. See also prescribed owners corporation. A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. not be involved with illegal parking on private land unless the offending vehicle is blocking a driveway and obstructing traffic. The local council can remove an abandoned vehicle on private land.
Parking in the private car space of another person presents difficulties. VicRoads will not provide the name of the registered owner on grounds of privacy. Though an owner or occupier may remove a trespassing vehicle from their property to a place within a reasonable distance from the subject land, such person(s) are liable for any damage to the vehicle or the possibility of charges for theft or interference with a vehicle under section 70 of the RS Act.
Other options include the installation of lockable metal barriers where the problem is frequent, or a notice placed on the vehicle that threatens legal action. Do not lift the windscreen wiper for fear of a claim of interference. Alternatively, commence proceedings in the Magistrates’ An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. of Victoria. In such event, photographic Material presented to a court to prove or disprove a fact. It can include what witnesses say as well as documents and other objects. of the trespass and/or a A person who can provide direct information based on their own knowledge about a relevant fact, and appears in court to give evidence about it. In some cases a witness may provide an affidavit or deposition setting out their evidence if they are not able to attend court. is advised.
The owners corporation may enter into a parking area agreement with the local council to To make people obey a law or the terms of an agreement, using police powers or court orders. parking restrictions; however, this option is not available in certain controlled situations, such as underground parking.
Abandoned goods on common property
Abandoned goods may be found in storage cupboards, carports, fire cupboards and exposed areas. The OC Act does not make provision for dealing with abandoned goods on common property. The issue for the owners corporation is to locate the owner of the goods, deal with valuable items and remove items that have no value. The owners corporation is not responsible for goods left on private property.
All reasonable steps should be taken to identify the owner of the goods. Investigative steps include contacting police to determine if a vehicle is stolen or searching the Any property that is not freehold land (real property). Securities Register on the ASIC website (www.asic.gov.au) to ascertain if there is a An interest in or power over property to secure payment of a debt or obligation, generally in the form of a mortgage, charge or lien. on identifiable property. If the goods belong to a lot owner, a notice specifying a removal period should be provided. An application to VCAT may be made for orders to deal with valuable goods including the destruction, sale and remittance of funds to the State Revenue Office under unclaimed revenue Statutory rules made by parliament or by bodies the parliament delegates power to, for example a local council or a registration authority. See delegated legislation; statute..
All goods should be photographed. Dispose of goods that have no value. Advertise goods of value by placing a notice in a clear waterproof sleeve in a prominent location advising that the goods will be removed if not claimed within 14 days. Thereafter, store items in a protected location until VCAT determines the application.
Adverse possession of common property
Under the OC Act, common property affected by an owners corporation is not subject to adverse (1) Having control over property. Possession is not the same as ownership. For example, a bicycle you have borrowed from a friend is in your possession but you do not own it. (2) Having illegal drugs on your person or property. (i.e. a claim of ownership) by another lot owner, irrespective of the period of possession (s 7C Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic)). However, a neighbour who is not an owner in the plan of subdivision may make a claim.
It is not generally appropriate for an owners corporation to lodge an objection to a planning permit, as that is not a function or power conferred by the OC Act (ss 4, 6). Ordinarily, an owners corporation will not have any proprietary interest that is adversely affected by a planning application.
However, if an owners corporation objects and the matter proceeds to VCAT, it is unlikely that the owners corporation would receive an adverse The amount charged by a lawyer for legal work. Lawyers can only charge the amount agreed with the client in a costs agreement or the amount stated by a court in its rules. The party who loses a case usually has to pay all their own costs plus most of the costs reasonably incurred by the other side. See also indemnity costs. order. The VCAT Act (s 109(1)) makes it clear that there is a presumption that each A person or organisation directly involved in a court case. Parties include the plaintiff or applicant, the defendant, and any third party added to the action, but not independent witnesses. bears its own costs. VCAT may (1) A standard set of working conditions, including pay rates, for a particular industry. (2) A court decision that a party receive compensation, such as an award of damages to compensate them for physical injuries. costs if satisfied that it is fair to do so, considering the factors listed in section 109(3).
Equal Opportunity Act
Owners corporations have legal obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) to address complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation, and to take action to prevent their occurrence.
An owners corporation must make reasonable adjustments to allow a person with a disability to access and use common property. An owners corporation must also make reasonable alterations on request and at their cost to meet special needs (s 56). Reinstatement provisions apply.
Legal professional privilege
Consider a dispute between a lot owner and the owners corporation about the ingress of water into the property of the lot owner. In this scenario, the parties may rely on expensive expert reports. If the owners corporation commissioned a report in the course of a VCAT proceeding, could the affected lot owner request a copy?
An owners corporation may oppose by claiming legal professional privilege, a principle that The principle that private information told to a person must not be revealed to others. Some professionals must keep information confidential, for example doctor–patient and lawyer–client relationships. between a lawyer and his client outweighs the public interest of the court’s access to all the relevant Relevant or important. For example, material evidence is something that helps to prove an argument in a criminal case. for decision. The High Court has stated that legal professional privilege is an important (1) The system of law developed by the English courts through precedent and adopted in ‘common law countries’ in the British Commonwealth (as opposed to Roman law (civil law) or ecclesiastical law). (2) The case law made by judges in that system. (3) Case law that is not part of the law of equity. (4) Historically, the rules of law common to all people in England, as distinct from local or customary laws. immunity that will not be taken to have been abrogated by A law made by parliament, either state or Commonwealth. Also called an Act, and Act of parliament or legislation. in the absence of clear words or necessary implication to that effect.
As the OC Act does not To abolish or cancel something, such as a law, so that it is no longer in force. legal professional privilege, it is clear that the report is privileged. This may seem a unique situation given that the lot owner is a member of the owners corporation. It is submitted that this situation is no different to the relationship between a company and a shareholder.
The lot owner might seek an order under section 168(c) of the OC Act for exclusion from such contribution.
Communication (written or oral) about a person that lowers that person’s reputation in the eyes of the public, if untrue, may be defamatory. At any meeting of an owners corporation, lot owners may freely express legitimate concerns about the conduct of other lot owners or committee members, but they must not act in a malicious manner that is intended to ridicule and humiliate. A court order for money to be paid to someone to compensate them for a loss suffered as a result of a civil wrong or breach of contract. For example, a person who caused a serious permanent injury to another person can be ordered by the court to pay damages that compensate the injured person for their loss of income from being unable to work. See also aggravated damages; compensatory damages; general damages; liquidated damages; nominal damages; special damages. for improper conduct can be considerable.