Towing cars: New legislation addressing parking violations in a body corporate

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The Queensland Government recently introduced new legislation to tackle parking violations more effectively within body corporate schemes. The new law ensures residents have clear and safe access to their homes and the common areas, with the authority to tow a vehicle that obstructs access or poses a safety hazard.

The devil, however, is in the detail, with emphasis on proportionality and reasonableness. This article looks at the updated legislation on towing an illegally parked car from a body corporate scheme, and the practical considerations before doing so.

Out with the old: The previous legislation on towing

Under the previous legislation, enforcing a by-law violation, like an illegally parked car, required an order from the Commissioner’s Office. This was the process for any by-law enforcement, including non-parking-related violations. If, for example, a resident was using the pool outside of allowed hours, direct action like removing them was not permissible without an order.

With orders sometimes taking up to a year to obtain, this made the timely enforcement of immediate issues – like removing an improperly parked car, completely impractical.

Under the new laws, a bodies corporate will no longer require an order from the Commissioner’s Office before they tow, however, they must act reasonably and proportionately to the violation.

Key aspects of the new legislation

  1. Authority to tow: Bodies corporate are now legally empowered to remove vehicles parked without permission or blocking critical areas such as garages, fire exits, or access points.
  2. Enhancing safety and accessibility: The primary goal of the new legislation is to enhance safety and accessibility in body corporate properties.

  3. Specific procedures and reasonableness: The legislation mandates specific procedures that must be followed before towing a vehicle. This includes providing adequate notice to the vehicle owner and ensuring the towing action is proportionate to the violation.

Acting reasonably is a critical component to ensure fairness and legality in enforcement.

Responsibilities for body corporate committees

For members of the committee, the new legislation brings both responsibilities and opportunities:

  • Review and update by-laws: Committees must review the scheme’s by-laws to ensure the parking rules are clearly defined. If there is any ambiguity about who can park where, and for what purpose – those by-laws should be clarified.
  • Effective Communication: It is essential to communicate the new towing rules to residents, explaining the changes, their rationale, and the benefits for the community.

  • Professional Advice: Given the legal and practical complexities of implementing these new rules, seeking professional advice is advisable. This ensures that the actions of the body corporate are compliant in effectively addressing parking issues.

Practical considerations

Under the new laws, bodies corporate in Queensland no longer require an order from the Commissioner’s Office to tow a vehicle. However, the fine print highlights the importance of acting reasonably, balancing the need for enforcement with the rights of residents. This means ensuring the vehicle owner is aware that towing is a potential consequence of parking violations.

Towing a car without notice if it is blocking the building’s main driveway entrance may be reasonable, but towing a car for parking 30 minutes longer than the visitor time limit may not be.

This highlights the importance of documented communication and consistent enforcement practices.

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Towing cars: New legislation addressing parking violations in a body corporate

The Queensland Government recently introduced new legislation to tackle parking violations more effectively within body corporate schemes. The new law ensures residents have clear and safe access to their homes and the common areas, with the authority to tow a vehicle that obstructs access or poses a safety hazard.

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