New Vehicle Towing laws for NSW Strata buildings

In NSW, strata buildings used to have the benefit of specific legislation in s.125 of the Strata Management Act 1995  to give them authority to remove or tow illegally parked cars from strata property.

However, authorities quietly repealed that provision in July 2020. As a result, removing illegally parked cars from strata buildings in NSW has become a lot murkier. Now, the NSW Uncollected Goods Act 1995 (NSW) has been amended to provide a legal framework for the disposal of goods – including illegally parked cars – left on common property in a strata scheme. 

And it’s really not a very simple solution at all. Quite the opposite – very messy and time-consuming – and puts strata schemes in a very challenging position when having to deal with illegal parking on common property.

Changes in NSW Strata Parking Laws

So where are the new rules and what do the they involve?

the car got parking violation for illegal parking in strata building

The NSW Uncollected Goods Act 1995 (NSW) comes into play when there is no agreement between the parties on the means of disposal of the uncollected goods[1].Under this legislation, the person or entity in possession of the abandoned or uncollected goods – which now includes a strata management or owners corporation – is given the right to dispose of (or in the case of a car, you’d need to tow it) the abandoned goods after a specified period of time. This period varies depending on the type and value of the goods. 

The Act outlines specific procedures that strata communities must follow to declare a vehicle abandoned on common property. These include notification requirements and waiting periods, before the vehicle can be lawfully removed or disposed of. Strata management efficiently addresses unauthorized parking or vehicle abandonment while considering the vehicle owner’s rights in this process.

In general terms, the legislation speaks to the following key terms:

  • You must safeguard goods left with you so their owner or legal representatives can reclaim them while in your possession.
  • You can request repayment for costs incurred in removing, storing, maintaining, or insuring these goods.
  • you cannot keep the goods if the owner owes rent or any other money
  • Following the Act’s process allows you to dispose of the goods after a set time
  • How long you wait and how you dispose of the goods depend on their value and type.

And this comes down to a few different key things:

  • The notice period you need to give – which depends on the value of the vehicle.
  • How you handle the property – and the manner in which you remove it, and
  • Is the vehicle truly abandoned when it’s labeled as such? This question introduces a whole new layer of complexity.

What you need to do under the new NSW Strata Parking laws to remove or tow an abandoned vehicle from strata in NSW

the car got towed for illegal parking.

The new rules under the Abandoned Goods Acts dictate what an owners corporation must do to remove illegally parked vehicles in NSW.

  1. Reasonably believe the car has been abandoned

As a starting point, for an owners corporation/ strata scheme to remove an abandoned vehicle, you first need to reasonably believe that it has been abandoned. 

  1. Certificate from Police Commissioner

Next you need to go to the Commissioner of Police and get a certificate, as well as a written search result from the “Personal Property Securities Register” confirming that the car is not stolen.

  1. Dispose with Notice Requirements 

The ONLY once you’ve got all that, you can dispose of the car in accordance with both the notice periods described below. And funnily enough, the notice periods depend on the value of the car!

So depending on the value of the car – and that itself would be an interesting discussion and argument to be having.

  1. Goods less than $1,000 (ok sometimes a car will be a bomb!) then you can give either written or verbal notice for a notice period of 14 days. What that notice looks like and where you send it to is unclear. In this instance you can dispose of the vehicle in “any appropriate manner”
  2. If the car’s worth between $1,000 and $20,000, then you need to give written notice for 28 days – again if you can’t find the owner, who knows where you give notice to – I would respectfully submit on the vehicle –  then you can sell by public auction or private sale for a fair value.
  3. If the car is worth over $20,000 then you are in another league – here you go, off to the Tribunal! Each of the manner of notice, the notice period, and the disposal method, must all be done in accordance with a Tribunal order!
  1. If your car’s worth over $20,000 then you need to go to the Tribunal!

So now in New South Wales, to remove an illegally parked car from strata property worth $20,000 or more you’ve got no choice but to go to the Tribunal.

And it doesn’t end there.

  1. What you need to do after you dispose of the illegally parked car

After disposing of the illegally parked car, you must make a note within 7 days which includes

  • Description of the goods
  • The date you disposed of them
  • How you disposed of them
  • If you sold the goods privately, you must provide the buyer’s name and address, sale price, and any related expenses.
  • If goods were sold via public auction, the auctioneer must disclose their name and address.
  • All your records that you tried to contact the owner to show you complied with the law.
  • And you need to keep these records for a minimum of 12 months for the less valuable items, but when it’s for more expensive or higher value items (like in most cases a car), then you need to keep these records for 6 years!
  1. And it doesn’t end there either!

Entering a dispute over the sale of abandoned goods could lead to someone initiating legal action against you in the Tribunal. Again! They can make orders under the Uncollected Goods Act, and depending on the value of the goods, and the order that someone is seeking, that will guide how long it takes to apply for a Tribunal order. But on average it’s going to take at a minimum 60 days and up to 180 days – or 6 months!


Avoid the Hassle of Towing Abandoned Cars in NSW – Use Parking Bollards!

With all the work that strata committee members already do on a voluntary basis, chasing up illegally parked cars is a real pain and frustration. There are much simpler and stress-free alternatives to going to the Tribunal, that can stop illegal drivers from parking in your visitor parking. Full stop. 

Parking Bollards, also known as parking barriers, or car park blockers, are a really simple way to PREVENT illegal drivers parking in your strata building and put an end to illicit parking.

The owners corporation can approve installing parking bollards in visitor parking, granting access only to authorized drivers in advance. This method prevents illegal drivers from entering parking spots, preserving them for the building’s genuine visitors and authorized drivers. This way you can avoid the thought of having to go to the Tribunal, which takes a long time, costs a lot of money. Even then, as the owners corporation, an unhappy car owner could take you back to the Tribunal to claim damages. What a nightmare.

So solve the problem up front with our range of parking bollards – from simple manual, key or padlock operated parking bollards, through to remote control and automatic parking bollards, and then the most sophisticated smartphone parking bollards, which even come with auto-sensors to automatically rise up when they know the car has left!

Case Study: Visitor Parking in Strata Buildings

We’ve successfully implemented parking bollards in various strata and holiday apartment settings, offering effective solutions to illegal parking challenges.

Strata Building Problem

Unauthorised parking in visitor parking plagued a new residential apartment building in Sydney with 120 units, posing a growing problem. As the building filled, residents overflowed parking into visitor bays, worsening as more moved in, becoming a major nuisance. Despite signage, unauthorised parking persisted, frustrating the proactive building manager.

The building and strata management, with the owners corporation sought our assistance for a sustainable solution to the parking dilemma. We tackled the issue head-on, implementing measures to control parking and alleviate the strain on strata resources.

The Solution: Parking Bollards make Managing Visitor Parking Easy!

Remote control parking bollard in carpark

For the building, at we installed TMS-APL4 smartphone parking bollards, with auto-sensors, taking control of visitor parking allocation. This enabled the building or strata manager to monitor who used the visitor parking bays and when. It also enabled them to share access with true visitors to use the visitor parking bays for times allowed.

It works through a simple process that the building manager walks the visitors through.

Firstly, visitors download the free app on their smartphone, register their details and let the building manager know. The building manager then shares access to the relevant smartphone parking bollard to the visitor for the time required. That visitor then uses their own smartphone to lower the parking bollard so they can park there. And then when they leave the bollard automatically rises up to secure the bay.
This way, we secure the visitor parking spot for the next visitor, ensuring convenience and order in our building.

NSW Strata Parking Law Old Towing Guidelines now repealed Section 125

It’s just quite bewildering to me why when we had clear and reasonable legislation under s.125 of the Strata Schemes Management Act that the New South Wales government just quietly legislated to remove that and replace it with something far more uncertain and that just puts more pressure on the Tribunal.

Under the old s.125 of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act (somewhat surreptitiously repealed in July 2020), NSW Owners corporations could tow a vehicle left unattended in visitors’ parking by following specific procedures. Our blog on the old rules with details of the process and requirements is located here

The process involved putting a removal notice on or near the car, followed by a 5 day waiting period. After that, the Owners Corporation could remove it. 

Towing in NSW Strata is messy

Navigating parking rules in NSW strata is complex after quiet changes in law. Repeal of s.125 of Strata Management Act 1995 led to new rules under NSW Uncollected Goods Act 1995. Unfortunately these rules introduce complexities like specific procedures, complicating unauthorized parking resolution for strata schemes.

Illegal parking problems in NSW strata can be messy to resolve. Rather than navigating complex tribunal proceedings, installing parking bollards offers a straightforward solution. Taking proactive measures ensures clarity, convenience, and order in your residential building, avoiding stress and inconvenience of unauthorized parking.