Entering a lot or exclusive use area
This information applies to all community titles schemes in Queensland.
The body corporate can authorise a person to enter a lot or exclusive use area of common property in some circumstances, as per section 163 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act).
This information is not relevant to work being performed under statutory easements, or automatically granted rights of entry
When a body corporate can authorise entry
A body corporate may only authorise a person to enter and remain on a lot or an exclusive use area to:
- inspect the area to find out if work it is authorised or required to carry out is necessary
- carry out work it is required or authorised to do.
How to authorise entry
A person may be authorised to enter a lot or an exclusive use area by:
The BCCM Act doesn’t specify what information should be included in the resolution. If the body corporate committee knows the name of the individual/s or the company being authorised to enter the area, then we suggest you include this information in the resolution.
Entering the property
Who can enter
Only persons authorised by the body corporate can enter the lot or the exclusive use area, unless the occupier gives permission for someone else to enter. The authorised person can be a committee member, a caretaking service contractor, an external person to the body corporate, such as a plumber, or any other person necessary.
A body corporate may be entitled to enter a lot or an exclusive use area because:
- it has legislative maintenance obligations
- the owner or occupier has not complied with their maintenance obligations under the legislation or a by-law.
If an owner or occupier has agreed to the body corporate supplying services to them, such as maintenance, that agreement may also authorise the body corporate to enter the lot or exclusive use area.
Giving written notice
Before entering the lot or exclusive use area, the body corporate must give written notice to:
- the owner of the lot
- the occupier of the lot, if the owner is not occupying the lot.
The written notice must be given to the owner or occupier at least 7 days before entry. The entry must be at a reasonable time. The legislation does not specify what a reasonable time would be.
The BCCM Act does not specify what information must be included on the written notice.
To avoid problems with access, we suggest including:
- the name of the individual/s or the company authorised to enter the lot or exclusive use area
- the date and time they will be entering
- how long they will be remaining in the lot or exclusive use area
- the reason they are entering
- contact details, in case of questions or concerns.
In an emergency, an authorised person may enter a lot or exclusive use area at any time, with or without written notice. The BCCM Act does not specify what situations are considered an emergency.
The body corporate will still need to authorise the person to enter the lot or exclusive use area. This may be done as a vote outside a committee meeting.
In an emergency, the body corporate should try to contact the occupier as early as possible to explain the urgent need to enter the lot. This is particularly important if written notice is not given. Early contact may help gain the cooperation of the occupier and avoid problems with access.
Power to enter
Where the body corporate has decided to gain entry and given the required notice, the authorised person has the power to enter the lot or exclusive use area. The body corporate or the authorised person does not require the presence or consent of the owner or occupier of the lot to enter the lot or exclusive use area.
It is an offence to obstruct an authorised person attempting to exercise their power of entry.
If an owner or occupier obstructs an authorised person from entering or remaining on the lot or exclusive use area, or from carrying out the necessary work or inspection, the body corporate may apply for dispute resolution in the commissioner’s office or lodge a complaint about the alleged offence in the magistrates court.
If an occupier believes the body corporate is seeking to enter the lot unlawfully or when not reasonably necessary, the occupier may consider applying for dispute resolution against the body corporate.
In these situations, it may be more appropriate to contact the Queensland Police Service about unlawful entry or seek independent legal advice.