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Can a lot owner make an improvement to common property that will only benefit that specific lot?

A requirement of a Lot Owner, wanting to make an improvement to the Common Property, is to seek the relevant approval prior to proceeding with the improvement. It is worth noting that if the value of the improvement will be $3000.00 or more, this approval must be sought through a General Meeting of the Body Corporate – anything under this value can be considered by the Committee.

In the adjudication order Body Corporate for Clontarf v Cedric Gray it is noted “The common property is owned by lot owners as tenants in common. The body corporate is responsible for the administration of common property for the benefit of its members, the lot owners. The body corporate has a statutory duty to administer, manage and control the common property reasonably and for the benefit of lot owners, and it may make by-laws relating to the administration, management and control of common property and regulating the use and enjoyment of common property.

It was claimed by the Body Corporate in the application that the respondent had moved the hot water system, that services Lot 2 only, from inside the unit to outside on the Common Property and that this installation had occurred without body corporate permission – in breach of the body corporate by laws around obstruction & damage to common property.

The adjudicator sought a submission from the respondent, who advised that the installation had occurred in an area that is used for storage of random items, is secured by a locked security gate, the installation is neat and tidy and does not impinge on the gate.

In light of the information provided by the Body Corporate in their application and the submission made by the respondent, the adjudicator found that the Body Corporate and the Committee acted reasonably in enforcing the by laws and there was nothing to suggest the Committee did not consider the matter objectively. As such the ruling was made that within 30 days of the date of this order, the owner of Lot 2, must remove the hot water system installed on the common property without body corporate permission and repair any damage caused by the installation and/or removal of the hot water system from the common property.

The full order can be read here.

More information on improvement to common property on the Commissioners Website.