What’s the difference between House Rules as apposed to By-Laws and how does that impact my Strata Scheme?
A lot of confusion can take place in a scheme surrounding By-Laws and House Rules, they can look very similar, share a similar purpose and are both created by the owners of a scheme. However, the biggest differentiation is how enforceable each one is and the implications behind them both.
One of the key differences between House Rules and By-Laws is that while every scheme will have By-Laws in place not all schemes will have House Rules. House Rules is that they assist in the control and management of common property for the benefit of all owners. House Rules advocate for the maintenance of the community and harmonious living within a scheme. They may also impose requirements for such things such as the times that tradespeople may carry out work at a lot, or where visitors may park, or opening times of the swimming pool etc.
One important attribute of house rules is that the only serve as a guide and cannot be enforced unless they are registered as a By-Law on the Strata Plan. An advantage of house rules is that they do not need to be registered via Landgate. However, this does also mean that they are not enforceable within a scheme, nor can those in breach of house rules be taken to SAT over these matters.
While house rules are not registered at Landgate they should still follow the same guidelines as By-Laws in that they should not be discriminatory, unfair or oppressive. Having house rules that fall within these categories could be considered a breach of the Standard By-Laws having wider implications for the scheme.
To see an example of what a set of House Rules may look like click here
By-laws are a set of duties, obligations, procedural matters and behavioural rules for owners, occupiers and visitors of a strata property. Unlike House Rules, By-Laws are legally binding documents that are registered at Landgate. By-Laws need to be registered within 3 months of being created, unregistered By-Laws, like House Rules cannot be enforced by a Strata Company. All Schemes follow a standard set of By-Laws with some schemes having additional By-Laws they may have adopted over time.
By-Laws can be enforced by the State Administrative Tribunal for breaching by-laws with any person being penalised up to $2000 per breach. Because of the nature of By-Laws, they are often drafted by a lawyer as they are legally binding and must comply with existing by-laws to be successfully lodged.
By-Laws are grouped into two categories:
Schedule 1 by-laws outline duties and procedures that are required of owners and the Strata Company whilst Schedule 2 by-laws are intended to ensure that residents within the complex can live harmoniously. Negative behaviours, such as, excessive noise, littering or parking in ways that cause a nuisance to others – are all breaches of the by-laws.
For an example of Standard By-Laws click here