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Does a lot owner have to seek permission from the Body Corporate to make an improvement to common property?

A topic that we write about regularly is applications from lot owners seeking permission to make an improvement to the common property – by installation of solar panels, air conditioning units, signage etc.

When the Committee (or Body Corporate) consider these applications and provide approvals, this is based on the information provided in the application including the brand, size, dimensions, colour etc. If a lot owner receives approval for an improvement but then removes the installation and installs something that is a variation to what was originally approved – a new application should be submitted for the Committee to consider.

In the adjudicators order Post Office Square (2022) QBCCMCmr80 (2 March 2022), the adjudicator ruled in favour of the Body Corporate in making orders that the lot owner remove current signage installed on the common property pylon sign and that signage be installed “of the same design and style, including the materials and dimensions, as the sign previously approved by the Body Corporate for Post office Square…..”

The applicant, being the Body Corporate, lodged the application when the owner of lot 4 removed their existing sign and installed new signage that was bigger and of a different design than previously approved and covered other signs above and below that installed for lot 4. The Body Corporate, in the application advised that a by law contravention notice was issued to the owner, however this had not resolved the issue, therefore the application was submitted.

The adjudicator, in conclusion, noted “I am satisfied that the respondents have altered the sign for Lot 4 that is installed on the common property pylon sign, by replacing or otherwise changing the sign. I am satisfied the body corporate approval for the sign related only to sign in its form that at the time of the approval, and so it did not provide for subsequent alterations to the sign. Accordingly, I am satisfied the respondents’ alterations to the sign required a fresh body corporate approval” and “In the circumstances, I consider that it is appropriate to make an order requiring the removal of the current sign for Lot 4 on common property. I will allow the respondents 30 days to remove the sign.”

The full order can be read here.

More information on the Improvements to Common Property by a lot owner can be found here.

It is important to note that the adjudicators orders that we review each month are made on a case by case basis by the commissioners office based on the applications, submissions, by laws pertaining to each of the schemes, legislation that is applicable and are not a fit all order.