How to make owners corporation rules

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Draft the rules

Your owners corporation (formerly body corporate) committee, secretary or manager should consider the purpose, scope and wording of the rules. This may take considerable time and effort.

When drafting the rules, keep in mind:

  • your existing owners corporation rules - by law, consolidated rules must be made and recorded with the plan of subdivision. It is possible that layers of rules have been recorded on the plan over many years. Your owners corporation should revoke any existing rules.
  • an appropriate communication or grievance procedure
  • your owners corporation will not be able to enforce ambiguous or unreasonable rules.

The rules must:

  • be for the purpose of the control, management, administration, use or enjoyment of common property or of a lot
  • not unfairly discriminate against a lot owner or occupier. For example, a rule cannot prevent children from living in a lot, unless it is in a retirement village, or restrict the use of a guide dog
  • not conflict with or limit the Owners Corporation Act 2006, any other Act, regulation, or legal requirement.

Use the model rules

The model rules are set out in the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007.

If your owners corporation does not make a rule covering any item in the model rules, then the model rule applies.

To make its own rules, your owners corporation should use the headings in the model rules in Schedule 1 of the Regulations with a clear statement about whether the model rule applies. For example: ‘Management and Administration Model rule 2.1 in schedule 1 of the Regulations does not apply’.

Download our Model rules for an owners corporation (Word, 49KB).

Make rules consistent with other laws

Your owners corporations should ensure its rules are consistent with other laws, including:

  • Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Both landlords and tenants have duties in relation to lots and common areas. These duties concern the conduct, care and maintenance of property and disposing of goods left behind
  • Disposal of Uncollected Goods Act 1961. This provides a process for disposal of goods in the course of a business for repair or other treatment
  • Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 1997. This legislation lists items and the times during which noise resulting from their use is deemed to be unreasonable
  • Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994 and local council laws. These cover pet registration and may control nuisance pets in owners corporations
  • Part 7A, Road Safety Act 1986. Under this legislation, your owners corporation can enter into agreements with your local council for services, such as issuing parking infringement notices to control parking on common property, and
  • Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2007 regarding issues related to health such as infectious diseases and the cleaning of swimming pools.

Tips to avoid unfair rules

Consider carefully how you word rules about:

  • flammable materials - a rule prohibiting the keeping of flammable materials should not be worded so that it could cover items such as boxes of matches or cigarette lighters
  • moving furniture - the risk of damage to common property may make it fair to forbid persons to move fixtures, or bulky, or fragile furniture without permission. Your owners corporation cannot prohibit people from moving or rearranging furniture, such as chairs or tables, as part of normal day-to-day use
  • overnight guests - rules that ban overnight guests are an unnecessary and unreasonable restriction on the occupier’s quiet use and enjoyment of the property
  • keeping pets - a blanket rule which prohibits the keeping of pets may be unfair where, for example, it may lead to a ban on keeping a goldfish. A rule banning pets that could harm the property, or be a danger or nuisance, or contravene local government requirements would be unlikely to meet the same objection
  • entertainment - a blanket ban on entertaining guests (for example, a party) may be unfair. A rule prohibiting an occupier from entertaining guests under certain conditions (for example, entertainment which could harm the property, or be a nuisance to other residents or neighbours, or contravene local government or Environment Protection Authority requirements) would be unlikely to meet the same objection.

Your owners corporation can control some conduct by allowing the conduct only ‘with the owners corporation consent, which will not be unreasonably withheld’.

Organise a meeting or ballot to consider the rules

Your owners corporation committee or manager will convene a general meeting or organise a postal ballot.

The notice of this general meeting or postal ballot should include the agenda items covering:

  • the rules
  • the text of the resolution
  • a copy of the proposed rules.

The notice must be sent at least 14 days before the meeting or ballot.

For more information about organising a meeting or ballot, view our Running an owners corporation section.

Ask the owners corporation to adopt the rules

This depends on how many lot owners vote in favour of the new rules.

  • If at least 75 per cent of votes were in favour of the new rules, a ‘special resolution’ is passed. The special resolution is recorded in the minutes of the general meeting or committee meeting convened to consider the outcome of the postal ballot.
  • If at least 50 per cent of votes were in favour of the new rules, an interim special resolution is passed. A notice of interim special resolution and minutes of the meeting must be sent to all lot owners within 14 days of the close of the ballot.
  • The decision can only be acted on after 29 days, if no petition representing more than 25 per cent of lot entitlements has been received. If the secretary receives a petition before the deadline, the special resolution fails and the rules are not adopted. Download the Owners corporation petition (Word, 50KB).

Register the new rules with Land Victoria

Your owners corporation must lodge a copy of the consolidated rules with Land Victoria, to be recorded on the plan of subdivision.

This copy of the rules must be certified by the owners corporation secretary in the approved Land Victoria form and accompanied by the prescribed fee.

If the rules are not registered with Land Victoria, the rules will be void and not enforceable.

Update records and notify lot owners and occupiers

Your owners corporation must:

  • notify lot owners of the new rules
  • update the owners corporation register
  • notify tenants, sub-lessees and other occupiers
  • place the new consolidated rules on the noticeboard, if there is one.

Avoid common pitfalls when making rules

Common pitfalls include:

  • misnumbering – duplication or gaps in numbering rules can lead to confusion. Be careful and always carefully check the numbering of a new or changed rule
  • not updating records – making a new rule involves repealing redundant rules. Consolidated rules must be registered at Land Victoria. Your owners corporation ensure that both lot owners and lot occupiers are informed of the new rules. Remember to change rules posted on noticeboards
  • failing to count votes or record the outcome of a postal ballot – the outcome of special resolutions must be recorded in minutes, otherwise the result and the rules may be void and open to challenge
  • registration delays - rules have no effect until registered with Land Victoria, so register them as quickly as possible
  • not updating the owners corporation register and certificates - after making rules (even before registration with Land Victoria) you must refer to them in the owners corporation register and certificates issued under the Owners Corporations Act 2006. This will inform prospective property buyers of the changes.