Can a lot owner refuse access to their lot to a contractor, engaged by the Body Corporate to complete maintenance?
Section 163 of the Body Corporate and community Management Act 1997 states:
In this months adjudication order, the Body Corporate sought an order from the Commissioners Office that a lot owner be compelled to provide access to their lot in accordance with the above mentioned section of the Act to allow for works to be completed.
Prior to the application being submitted, the Body Corporate had approved for major structural and waterproofing repairs to be carried out to lots on the top two floors which required the installation of a mast climber (a type of construction elevating equipment used to perform works at height) which needed to be based in the courtyard area of the respondents lot and attached to her balcony soffit & balcony soffits on every third level above. As part of the process, the Body Corporate had issued the correct notices and had specified timeframes and when access would be needed etc. The respondent, at the time, advised that the Body Corporate and the contractor could not have access to her courtyard and argued that it was not necessary to occupy her courtyard for the time period that was included in the notices.
The adjudicator was asked to provide an urgent order as the installation of the mast climber was due imminently and the Body Corporate would incur costs even if it was not installed on the scheduled date and because the road closure permit from council would expire also.
The adjudicator took into consideration the following legislation, when deciding the ruling that would be provided:
If the body corporate is to validly exercise its power of entry, several criteria must be satisfied:
- the persons entering must be authorised by the body corporate
- the entry must be reasonably necessary to carry out work the body corporate is authorised or required to carry out, and
- the entry must be at a reasonable time after at least 7 days written notice.
Once they were satisfied that these criteria had been successfully met by the Body Corporate, the ruling was made that the persons authorised by the body corporate may enter the lot, the lot owner must not obstruct the authorised person, the authorised person may move any obstructing items located on the lot owners balcony & if the courtyard to the lot is locked, a locksmith can be engaged to unlock it and recover this cost from the lot owner as a debt.
The full orders can be read here.
More information can also be obtained on the Department of Justice website.