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Owners’ Corporation Law - July 2015

30 Jun 2015

Car-share arrangements can be a winner

With the sheer scale of new high-rise developments that have gone up in recent years in inner-Melbourne, the challenge for these buildings is to maintain and maximise the value of the units and the common property by providing unique services and facilities to residents that have a tangible, beneficial and practical impact on the residents’ daily lives.

A number of new developments offer interesting communal facilities such as movie theatres, function rooms, wine cellars and the like.

One area where existing buildings can seek to differentiate themselves from the rest is through the provision of on-site share-car services or “pods”.

The trend towards high-density living means car ownership is increasingly a burden. With the ease of public transport trams and the increased network of bike lanes springing up all over the city, a lot of inner-city dwellers will now only use their vehicles on the weekends to get the weekly groceries or for the odd trip out of town.

Providing a car-share pod within a residential building provides the residents (and nearby businesses) with the convenience of accessing a car when they need one, without any of the maintenance costs. The cars can be booked on an hourly basis for as little as $10 per hour including fuel and any tolls. Some car-share operators even offer free membership for tenants residing in the buildings.

Statistics from the City of Melbourne and Go Get reveal that for every share car introduced, a total of 12 private cars are removed from Melbourne’s roads. Throw in the reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and there’s a scalable community benefit for all residents.

Some local councils are even prepared to award Green Star Points towards green building accreditation for buildings that install car-share pods.

The trend towards electric and hybrid cars such as the Tesla means that in the future, owner’ corporations may need to contemplate the installation of re-charging stations on common property to allow electric cars to recharge their batteries. As always, the early adopters of innovation and technology will stand to benefit the most.

However, before an owners’ corporation races off and enters into any agreements with a car-share provider, a special resolution may need to be passed if there is to be any alteration to use of common property, such as the deletion of any visitor parking spaces, or through the utilisation of a previously non-specified area of common property.

Care will also need to be taken to read the fine print if there is proposed to be any lease or licence agreement entered into with a car share provider, as this would trigger the need to pass a special resolution also.

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