Do’s and don’ts of garbage disposal on your strata property

Do’s and don’ts of garbage disposal in your strata property header image

Do’s and don’ts of garbage disposal on your strata property

As strata living increasingly becomes the norm in cities and suburbs, the issue of garbage disposal is bound to raise a stink if it’s not done the right way

In strata and community living arrangements, one man’s trash can become everyone’s problem if it’s not disposed of correctly.


Dealing with garbage in strata property

Nobody likes to see or have garbage near their living spaces, especially when you are part of a shared strata scheme. The governing strata legislation for New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria each has a section that prohibits owners or occupiers from depositing or throwing garbage, dirt, dust or other discarded items on common property.

If an owner or occupier has a legitimate reason to leave garbage on common property, they must first receive approval in advance from the owners corporation or bodies corporate.

In New South Wales, section 125 of Strata Schemes Management Act (NSW) 2015 and Clauses 32 & 33 of the Regulations also enable owners corporations to store or dispose of, or authorise the disposal of, goods left on common property, provided the proper procedures have been followed. A lot owner or occupier must comply with local council requirements and promptly report any loss or damage to the garbage receptacles provided by the council.

In Queensland, unless the body corporate provides a procedure for garbage disposal, the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCMA) outlines that occupiers must maintain clean and covered receptacles for garbage on their lots. Individual lot occupiers are to comply with local by-laws, with properties falling in priority development areas (PDA) requiring additional compliance with PDA by-laws.

In Victoria, Owners Corporations Act, apart from the usual waste collected by the regular council-operated waste-collection system, occupiers are responsible for arranging appropriate waste disposal from their respective lots, ensuring that the owners corporation is satisfied with the chosen method.


What should you do if rubbish has been left on common property without consent?

If your strata scheme has a building manager, then alert your manager to the issue. They may be able to dispose of it if the rubbish is suitable for general waste bins. If the dumped rubbish is not suitable for general waste bins, local council or a rubbish contractor may have to collect the material and there could be cost associated with its removal. If the offender is known, they are responsible for the cost. If the offender is unknown, the cost could potentially fall back on the owners corporation or body corporate.

If your strata scheme does not have a building manager, and the rubbish is general waste, ask the cleaners to dispose of it. If the rubbish falls outside general waste, the committee would need to arrange for the removal, and generally, there may be a cost associated with the removal.


PICA Group’s top tips on waste disposal in community and strata living:


Having efficient strata waste management is your best defence against the dumping of rubbish on common property.

1. Provide residents with waste disposal guidelines

Residents may not know how to dispose of their garbage correctly according to your strata scheme’s waste disposal system. It is recommended to follow best practice guidelines available in the form of notices and signs and issued to new owners, share on the community’s online group or the common property notice board and waste areas.


2. Encourage recycling

Encourage residents to recycle as much as possible. Educate them on ways to recycle, and upcycle items. For example, donate things in good working order to charities, or sell or give them away on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.


3. Follow through on the consequences of incorrect waste disposal

If someone incorrectly disposes of waste, then it’s important to get on top of the situation before others follow suit. If there are repeat offenders, then it’s important to follow through on the consequences of improper waste disposal, such as issuing of a  formal warning from the committee, or a notice to comply, and these don’t work, applicable fines for non-compliance.


4. Re-issue waste disposal by-laws and guidance notices

For large schemes with numerous apartments, it may be necessary to have additional by-laws and building rules outlining your waste management procedures. The by-laws should also highlight the consequences of breaking these rules. We recommend circulating or re-issue these by-laws and building rules regularly.


5. Bulky waste disposal

Packaging large products like electronics or moving boxes can be challenging to dispose of. Large cartons and polystyrene packaging may be too large for waste chutes or bins. These materials also fill bins prematurely. If your building is new and numerous residents are moving in simultaneously, the building manager or strata committee should organise a dedicated collection point. Tenants moving in and out of apartments should be guided by their property manager on what to do with excess bulky waste.


6. Review access for garbage disposal in your strata property

If there are accessibility issues, it can result in improper waste management. Waste management areas should have enough bins and the correct balance of general and recycling waste options.

There may also be potential to add separate green waste disposal facilities. Properties with limited communal bin space can prevent waste from being filled prematurely by organising separate private green waste removal.


7. Local council bulky goods collection

Residents should be aware of their rights to use the bulky good collections that many local councils offer. This is generally a free service, and depending on what local government area, you could be entitled to up to two collections per year. Any items collected by the council may be compacted, crushed and sent to a landfill, so the collection should be a last resort.

To find waste and recycling facilities for your local area, the National Waste Reporting Mapping Tool is an interactive web-based platform providing information on the availability of collection services for recyclable materials and the distribution of waste infrastructure across Australia.


8. Schedule an annual waste skip bin collection

If excessive rubbish in your scheme is a regular problem, you may want to schedule an annual waste skip bin to encourage owners and residents to do an annual declutter.


If you’d like to find out more on how to deal with garbage disposal and other common strata problems for your strata property, download your free Community Living guide on by-laws. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws for NSW residents by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.

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