What is the committee’s or body corporate’s role and extent of powers in enforcing by-laws? – Jason, QLD

What can the committee of the complex really do apart from sending letters to people for not following the by-laws? Are there any other ways to get everyone to follow the by-laws of the complex?

–  Jason, QLD

The committee is in charge of:
• The administration and day-to-day running of the body corporate
• Making decisions on behalf of the body corporate
• Putting the lawful decisions of the body corporate into place

A body corporate is responsible for ensuring by-laws are in place, they’re aligned with the law and available to all owners and residents within the property. However, challenges can arise when owners, residents and guests ignore the by-laws.

If the body corporate believes the by-laws are breached, they may first speak to the owner or resident informally to try to fix the issue. If that doesn’t work, under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 the body corporate can send out a by-law contravention notice to the person for breaching the by-laws.

The decision to give a by-law contravention notice can be made by the committee, or the body corporate at a general meeting. The body corporate usually cannot take action to enforce the by-laws until it has sent a by-law contravention notice.

If a person does not comply with a by-law contravention notice, the body corporate can decide to either start proceedings in the Magistrates Court for the offence of failing to comply with the notice or apply for conciliation to enforce the by-law. The Magistrates Court can impose fines for failure to comply with the notice.

For further information on by-law breaches, you may wish to contact the Commissioners office for further assistance on 1800 060 119. For more information, here is a guide on Queensland body corporate living and an article on by-laws that may interest you.