Tennants have been leaving rubbish in the common stairwell and carpets are stained and smelly – who is responsible for cleaning this and is there a by-law to show them? – Michelle, NSW
Q: Tennants have been leaving rubbish in the common stairwell and carpets are stained and smelly – who is responsible for cleaning this and is there a by-law to show them?
A: There may be by-laws in place that prohibits littering on common property. It is recommended that you have a look at your strata by-laws to see if there are rules around this matter. You can get a copy of your strata by-laws by contacting either your strata manager or your strata committee’s secretary.
You may also wish to speak to your strata manager to help you resolve the matter. If there are by-laws that prohibit littering on common property, and you have evidence of the tenants being the culprits, your strata manager may be able to serve a contravention notice/breach of by-law notice. This document acts as an official warning, and subsequent breach of by-laws may result in penalties such as fees.
As for the responsibility to clean common property, this will generally be your owners corporation’s duty (in fact, in NSW the owners corporation has a statutory duty to maintain common property). If there are areas of common property that you’d like to see being cleaned, you may wish to bring it up with your strata committee’s secretary or have it included as an agenda item for discussion at your next general meeting. Again, this can be requested by contacting your strata committee secretary; just ensure that you send your meeting topic item requests two weeks before the meeting date.
If you notice that there are no by-laws relating to littering or if they are too vague and need to be reinforced you may wish to have your strata by-laws reviewed and have nwe ones registered, or existing ones updated. Try Kemps Petersons Legal, the experts in strata by-laws and legal services.