Using owners’ corporation rules to encourage sustainability
Increasingly, owners’ corporations (OC) are looking to reduce their footprints and set themselves up as more sustainable, comfortable places to live.
Often, this will involve investigating retrofits such as solar panels or electric hot water, or the upkeep and maintenance of features which may have been installed by the original developer.
Another way OCs can look to improve sustainability is via the OC rules.
The rules of your OC are registered with your plan of subdivision, meaning a special resolution is required to change them. Or in other words, 75 per cent of all owners will need to vote in favour for a final special resolution to pass.
This can be difficult to achieve, especially at larger properties and ones with large numbers of renters. That said, the rules are the most effective way to encourage the types of behaviour which are important to your community, so the payoff could be great.
Below is some inspiration to embed sustainable rules into owners’ corporations.
Some OCs choose to start their rules with guiding principles. These can outline commitments to waste minimisation, sustainable transport, energy efficiency and more. These principles can be used to guide the ongoing operation of the OC and future decisions should be made with these guidelines in mind.
Rules can commit property to ensuring efficiency standards are maintained. Sustainable OC rules could include banning gas barbecues on balconies or committing to only installing efficient lights and appliances.
They can also include committing to measuring and offsetting the carbon footprint of the OC each year.
OC rules can detail how occupiers dispose of waste. This can include recycling correctly and ensuring there is no contamination of the bins, which could result in recycling bins being sent to landfill.
They can also stipulate that green waste must be composted if these facilities are available.
Rules can describe how common property gardens can be managed. This can include allowing residents to apply to manage areas of the garden and grow food onsite.
They can also limit what is planted and often choose to favour Australian native plants that use minimal water.
The Model Rules which apply to all OCs state that owners need to advise the OC when making changes to their lots.
Changes to the external appearance also need to be approved by the OC, which can go further by ensuring these works are approved with sustainability in mind.
Rules can include a requirement that owners submit a sustainability statement with any works that identifies the materials that will be used. This statement should demonstrate the works are in line with the guiding principles of the OC.
If you need any help with setting your OC up with sustainability focused rules, get in touch with our team at [email protected] •