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In recent case Harpullia [2022] QBCCMCmr 473 (22 December 2022), the body corporate – having received no response from lot owners to their several pieces of correspondence regarding the state of their garden – eventually sought orders from an Adjudicator to compel the owners of an overgrown lot to:

  • Replace all turf at the front and sides of their property; and
  • Remove/treat all weed species in garden beds at the sides and adjacent to the property’s driveway;
  • Prune an overgrown Bougainvillea; and
  • Adopt a regular mowing schedule of at least every 10 days in the Spring/Summer months and at least every 15 days in Autumn/Winter months.

The Applicant body corporate submitted these orders were warranted as their repeated requests to the Lot owners to comply with the by-laws were ignored and the general state of the gardens made it a welcome habitat for rats and snakes posing a safety risk for the community.

The Referee however did not agree with the body corporate.

The Referee hearing the application confirmed no actual evidence of vermin or snakes was presented with the Application – only photographs showing the grass and weeds to be about knee-high noting work needed to be done.

The Referee ultimately refused to make either orders for the turf to be replaced or for a prescribed mowing schedule to be adopted relevantly saying:

“There is no good basis to say mowing of such regularity is absolutely necessary to keep the lawn tidy, not least because I doubt two given gardeners would agree exactly on when a lawn is in a state of untidiness”.

In refusing the request for the Bougainvillea to be trimmed, the referee dryly noted:

“I do not know what would constitute “overgrown” Bougainvillea; if anything, untidiness seems to be its natural state”

Before confirming the Committee could trim the offending shrub if it encroached onto the common property.

Overall a win for common sense but no doubt not what the Committee preferred.

The full order can be read here.

More information on enforcing By-laws can also be obtained on the Commissioners Office website.

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.