Hard Rubbish Fine from Body Corp - Pay or Ask to Reduce Fine?

A bit of context I got a dented Marvel Mop bucket and decided to throw it away. Instead of putting in a big rubbish bin in waste room, I decided maybe someone can use this for other things and left it in a waste room floor.

Got caught on CCTV and slapped with $1k fine.

  1. Obtaining CCTV footage - $350.00.
  2. Attending to breach - $242.00.
  3. Removal of hard waste - $100.00.
  4. Penalty for failure to comply with rules - $350.00.

Now I know it's my fault and angry at myself that I should have just dump the bucket in the bin anyway.
Is it worth calling and ask to reduce the fine?

Poll Options

  • 461
  • 32


  • +80

    Absolutely no point wasting a minute or two on a call when all that is at stake is a paltry thousand dollars.

    • +54

      And WTF is that all about anyway? Nonsense fine.

      • +39

        You get this when people start piling up trash in common areas of apartment complexes.

        It's start with the Mop bucket, then sofa, broken oven and sometimes broken cars.

        • +50

          It's a bucket. They meant no harm and a warning would have been sufficient enough, instead bc clearly saw this as an opportunity to make some extra cash and use the above excuses to justify.

          • +13

            @iNeed2Pee: 1k fine is over the top, true but all I'm saying is these fines are there for reason. But as mentioned below by Neil, bodycorp need to send some contractor to clean it, that cost money.

            • +5

              @boomramada: I am confused though? What exactly are they cleaning? It was just a bucket that needed to be removed right?


              • +20

                @iNeed2Pee: I'd be worth $350 to get the CCTV and prove they DIDN'T send anyone and onsite manager just picked it up.

                • +1

                  @Nalar: I think he is saying he has to pay bodycorp because they had to go to the trouble of obtaining CCTV footage to find the criminal.

              • +1

                @iNeed2Pee: Let me make it easy for you, If you are working for me as a sub contractor and I asked you to attend to a location to move a bucket. Would you do it for me for free?
                Or do I have you to pay you by minimum 3hr + travel?

              • @iNeed2Pee: they're cleaning OP's bank

            • +19

              @boomramada: Lol…… let’s fine someone $1k for a bucket and only $350ish for running a red light that endangers people’s lives. Just in that comparison, that’s a messed up fine right there.

            • +5

              @boomramada: There'd be a facility manager on site (or visiting very often) who'd pick it up as part of their rounds. Contractor's are only needed for specialist work like plumbing, electricity etc.

        • +2

          Yep, people are ignorant and don't care tbh, (proof: seen people throw massive cardboard box into the recycling bin which was the same volume as the dumpster almost… all they had to do was flatten the box and amazingly you could fit soooo much more cardboard in their, not sure if people are just not smart or just lazy) i am happy OC handed fine regardless of if it was a small bin or whatever. Also their is safety issue associated with it as it can impede floor access. Also because someone did this once the garbage collector could not remove the bins so we could not have rubbish disposed.

          • +3

            @DisabledUser144155: ^^ thanks!!
            I used to live in apartment, 1# issue people don't flatten the boxes. Then bin fill ups, leave shit everywhere and expecting their mum to clean it up.
            And some apartments there are multiple bins yet some can't be bother checking other bins.
            Nothing against OP but world full of inconsiderate people hence these fines are.

            • @boomramada: The one guy down voting me probably serial offender doesn't want to be called out lol

            • +2

              @boomramada: Not just those in apartments. My wife does the same thing, one large empty box in the recycling bin, then “oh damn, it’s full” 🤦‍♂️

          • +2

            @DisabledUser144155: They're not lazy or dumb, they are just pos.

  • +18

    WTF that seems huge considering. I'd definitely be looking into it. First off what fine is stipulated in what I'm guessing is the agreement you signed when you moved in?

    • edit

    To add to this, I thought a by-law breach had a maximum penalty of $500 so may even be illegal (I'm not a lawyer so worth checking). I also thought they're meant to give you a warning first, then notice to comply and then a fine. I also thought in some states that even if you take it to tribunal and lose, the maximum they can charge is $1,100? (again not a lawyer so I may be very wrong).

    I'd also think, that only part 4 is the penalty. The rest of it is already paid as part of body corp/strata fees, if they aren't getting paid by everyone to do this, then what are they getting paid for? Sounds like double dipping to me.

    • +1

      Was shocked myself when I got the email from my agent.

      It stated that:

      Breach of Owners Corporation Rules and Owners Corporation Act 2006.
      We reiterate your responsibilities as an Occupant in accordance to Section 137 of the Owners
      Corporation Act 2006, stipulating:
      Section 137, Duties of occupiers of lots;
      "An occupier of a lot -
      (a) must comply with this Act and the regulations under
      this Act and the rules of the owners corporation;"

      I didn't know it exists.

      • +5

        Yeah, I'll be honest, I sort of feel like some of these may not even be legal to charge? Which makes me wonder whether its worth asking your fair trading agency along with legal aid (free) or similar? (again I'm not a lawyer)

        Breach of Owners Corporation Rules and Owners Corporation Act 2006.

        Is there are rules book/pdf in the "Breach of Owners Corporation Rules" they can't just charge you, they need an "agreement" to do so as in you signing a document that states that if you broke the rules by placing hard rubbish in the common area, you'll pay $xxx, the rules themselves have to be agreed upon by the owners.

        Reading this its like whats to stop them charging whatever they want, $1,000, $10,000? etc.

      • Are you the 'owner' or a tenant?

        • Tenant since December 2020.

          • +2

            @iregretmyusername: Were you ever supplied with a copy of the rules (by owner, agent or body corporate representatives) before moving in - or was the rule that was broken signed explicitly in the area. That might go some way to ability to enforce.

            • +1

              @rsw65: No, it was never attach in the contract. The book containing the rules was actually in my very bottom kitchen draw that I found about three months ago.

              • @iregretmyusername: Not part of your rental contract? None of your business, not your problem.

              • +1

                @iregretmyusername: The owner or managing agent should have given you a copy of the rules. However the wording of the act doesn't absolve you from responsibility even if you didn't receive a copy. i.e. you didn't receive a copy of the rules so therefore it's okay to do whatever you want?

                Part 7, #136 & #137 of the Victorian Owners Corporations Act 2006 appears to be the most relevant here (disclaimer: I am not a solicitor, seek your own legal advice).

                136 Advice to occupiers
                A lot owner who does not occupy his or her lot
                must give the occupier of the lot—
                (a) copy of the rules of the owners corporation
                at the commencement of occupation; and
                (b) copy of the consolidated rules of the owners
                corporation as soon as possible after it is
                lodged with the Registrar.

                137 Duties of occupiers of lots
                An occupier of a lot—
                (a) must comply with this Act and the
                regulations under this Act and the rules of
                the owners corporation; and
                (b) must not use or neglect the common property
                or permit it to be used or neglected in a
                manner that is likely to cause damage or
                deterioration to the common property.

      • +19

        I'm not a lawyer, but as far as I can see that law says you must follow the owners corporation rules, but it does not give the Owner's corporation the legal right to levy fines.

        I would be seeking advice from Tenants Victoria and/or a lawyer.

        I don't think VCAT would issue a monetary damages against you. In theory the landlord could try and have you evicted, but I don't think that would stand up unless there were repeated instances of non-compliance.

        • +6

          trongy is spot on. We had a lot owner who had a fine and it was found that the OC can't fine tenants/owners. They can charge for their time and that's about it. OC don't have the authority to fine. Ask them for the relevant OC Act reference. The short version is that OC's can make rules as long as their don't contradict the OC Act. The OC Act doesn't give the authority to issue fines.

          Take trongy's advice. Get a response from the OC and get tenants victoria involved and it will go away. Try and keep it simple.

          • @Shazam82: Being a landlord totally agree, The Tenants these days have so much power it's hardly worth renting out a property these days. Body corporates are useless and just money making machines and look at anyway to make a buck if a repair costs $1000 they will have their cut added in, Would definitely get Tenants Victoria in especially in this case where it looks like a money grab.

      • +20

        Just say there was a leak of some sort and you put the bucket there to stop it. They can’t see tiny leaks from CCTV.

        • +1

          There is no need to lie

      • +10

        You should have known.

        If they didn't give you a copy of the rules under s 136 tell them to eat shit.


        Also see s166. If you take it to VCAT the most you can loose is $250.


        • If they didn't give you a copy of the rules under s 136 tell them to eat shit.

          Yes the owner/managing agent should have given the tenant a copy of the rules. But if the tenant didn't get a copy of the rules, does that mean they can do whatever they want?

          In the very next section 137.

          137 Duties of occupiers of lots
          An occupier of a lot—
          (a) must comply with this Act and the
          regulations under this Act and the rules of
          the owners corporation; and
          (b) must not use or neglect the common property
          or permit it to be used or neglected in a
          manner that is likely to cause damage or
          deterioration to the common property.

          In summary, I don't think ignorance is going to be good defence here. Although its absolutely reasonable to question and ask for a break down of the costs involved.

    • +1

      the penalty in this case is $350. the other amounts are costs of removal and investigation.

    • Well the penalty was only $350, so well within the $500. The rest was passing on costs (though extremely expensive ones).

      • +3

        Passing on costs they need to be able to prove cost. I really dont think they'll be able to produce invoices for $100 of picking up a bucket and putting it in the bin.

  • +5

    Is it worth calling and ask to reduce the fine?

    Maybe you could call them first?

    Or post in OzB before making any decisions.

    • +2


      • +1

        MS Paint diagram?

  • +27

    Wow, no doubt that goes to lining the BC pockets… How are they justifying charging $350 to access their own (profanity) CCTV footage?

    • +1

      With many buildings, the CCTV is onsite, so you'd have a call out fee. For example, in my building, for my OC manager to attend it is $240/hr. I assume it may be this or the cameras are run by a 3rd party who charge a fee and then pass it along. Still expensive but this is on the owners for signing such a poor contract. My guess is the annual fee is cheap for the owners and these one off expenses make their revenue.

      • +52

        $240 an hour? What are they?, an escort? 😂😂😂

        • Pretty standard. We never need the OC manager onsite so it's not really anything to worry about. If we did then we'd negotiate a better rate.

          OC Company #2: $169.95/hr
          OC Company #3: $220/hr
          OC Company #4: $150/hr but negotiated 6 free visits per year (Contract was a lot more than others)
          OC Company #5: $220/hr

          EDIT: To add, plumber is $170 to attend, then hourly rate of $125.

          • +5

            @neil: Jeez thats crazy, but I just cant see how charging someone $1000 for the above is justified.

            Seems unfair:(

        • +1

          Well they are (profanity) OP pretty hard.

        • +3

          Well someone is definitely getting screwed.

        • Free unhappy endings for everyone!

        • They're certainly good at f***ING you over

    • +38

      Not to mention, $100 to dispose of a bucket. Real cost $0.00, just put it in the bin.

      Cannot imagine living with such ridic rules. Out of spite, I would start complaining and escalating literally every little thing wrong with the property. Make a game of it.

      • Not to mention, $100 to dispose of a bucket. Real cost $0.00, just put it in the bin.

        Depends, if there was already a caretaker doing the bins and they just tossed it away then yeah, $0. If they had to call out someone out to attend to the site, then the contractor needs to get paid.

        Out of spite, I would start complaining and escalating literally every little thing wrong with the property. Make a game of it.

        This only gives more money to the OC management company. Assuming the OP is an owner, I'd get on the committee and get a new contract or OC company. That's what I did and ended up firing 2 OC management companies. Owners corporations can work well but need people who give a shit on the committee to keep the management companies in line.

        • +1

          I'm renting and they do have a caretaker so usually the cleaner will clear it up especially when it's a bucket.

        • +4

          If someones getting paid $100.00 to come out and put a bucket in a bin, there is no hope for mankind.

          • @pharkurnell: Companies are free to charge whatever they want as long as there is someone willing to pay for it and that's the problem. The owners have enabled the OC management company to charge these fees and to engage a contractor to throw away 1 bucket.

            As for $100, well most companies have a minimum call out fee. So a quick Google search shows for example (https://www.popeyerubbishremovals.com.au/):

            We will beat any price guaranteed starting from $75 per cubic meter including labor and tip fees, No hidden fees or cost!!

            So a bucket will cost $75 or a bunch of hard rubbish up to a cubic metre will cost the same.

          • +2

            @pharkurnell: if any property management types in the Sydney region happen to be reading this, I can remove buckets for $90.

            In keeping with the Black Friday theme of discounts and bonuses, as a special, this flat rate will also include the associated mop! (bucket fluid contents removals incurs a $5 additional charge, but I think any savvy manager can appreciate the opportunity that a 5-10% cost saving represents!)

      • +8

        Exactly. How hard would it be for the building manager to simply throw the damn bucket in the bin?

        Considering how many companies are going along with the whole "sustainability" thing, you could bring it up in VCAT that you were doing the environmentally responsible thing and not throwing away a bucket which could be used by someone else..

        I would absolutely start making their life hell just out of spite. They want to play that game, two can play.

        • -2

          Cool and they were also littering in a communal area owned by the OC, creating fire hazard by blocking floor access and creating obstacles which others could fall on creating an issue of negligence. You both sound privileged, it is a communal area you should respect it as other people also need to use the area without other peoples rubbish tossed everywhere.

          • @DisabledUser144155: waves privilege card

            yeah but how hard is it for the building manager simply to chuck it in the bin? seems like a hell of a lot of work to chase up and penalise the offender…. they're clearly just in it for the revenue.

            • @LordSydney: The problem is if they allow this instance it sets a precedent and once set people will try to get larger more obscure items in the bin room if they know they will just get a warning, so i see your argument but it just doesn't work when most people are sheeps and will do the status quo of "dumping rubbish". Situation is bad for OP sure but i think they need to recognize the purpose of the fine as well.

              • +1

                @DisabledUser144155: Yea i can see piles of buckets in the common room within days.

                Or just a 'please don't do it again' would have been more than enough…. IF they did it again, then hit em hard for being a (profanity)

  • +15

    A couple different issues here, assuming you are in Victoria.

    Private fines are not enforceable so the $350 is out. However

    Obtaining CCTV footage - $350.00.
    Attending to breach - $242.00.
    Removal of hard waste - $100.00.

    These are likely the fees that the owners corporation management had in their contract with the owners corporation so inevitably either you or the OC will be paying this.
    I'd think if they took this to VCAT over a bucket it would get thrown out as it's not reasonable.

    • +4

      Yes I'm in Victoria.

      I'm happy to pay the fine, I do think for a bucket they should be giving me a warning or something.

      • +7

        take it to VCAT you coward!

    • +4

      Let them issue a breach notice and forgot about the fake fine

      Especially if there is a care taker, this is absurd and push back needed

  • +19

    Reason # 389432409283409 to not buy anything with Body Corp..

    $100 to get rid of a bucket and mop?

    WTF is $200+ attending to breach…
    sounds like someone was given a new job as sheriff of them thar units… and gone power mad……

    • +1

      Lots of padding with admin charges to send emails etc

  • +1

    That's ridiculous, push back.

  • +8

    Question the fine and then if they insist on you paying, VCAT it.

  • +9

    This is why body Corps are total bullshit.

    Just another committee who pretends to do things, but lines their pockets for doing jack all.

    Take them to VCAT, the fine is ludicrous for something fairly minor.

  • +8

    Offer to pay the $100 for the removal, make sure you ask for a receipt for the cost, everything else is unenforceable, they should provide you the cctv footage free of charge, as its their duty to provide the proof.

    definitely threaten with vcat otherwise.

  • +42


    It is not reasonable to charge $1000 to get rid of a mop bucket.

    Sounds to me someone may be getting kickbacks

    • +3

      And therein lies the great scam or the body corp and real estate management industry…

    • +3

      Corruption? In the real estate industry of all places? Never!

  • +44

    I'd just argue that you left it to dry and for temporary storage as it stunk due to what you were cleaning. I'd also request the mop bucket back as they took your property. Send an email.

    They then have to prove you were trying to dump it. Which is problematic as you are asking for it back… They need to prove that a reasonable person would see that as dumping and they needed to act on behalf of the OC. Look for any signage that indicates timeframes or penalties for dumping.

    I'd send emails and check your lease if it includes conditions to follow the OC laws and be subject to penalties and then follow up with tenancy union for advice. The question is how did they determine you were dumping as opposed to storing and what constitutes dumping as per the OC rules.

    • Even if it sat there for 5 days - you totally forgot about it.

  • +3

    I wouldn’t ask to reduce the fine, I’d ask for it to be waived completely. BC are being completely unreasonable so I can’t imagine any kind of negotiation being useful. Ask once for it to be waived, if they say no, go to VCAT.

  • +1

    When you moved into the property were you given paperwork with the owner's corp rules on it? Along with a schedule of fees for breaking said rules?

    • All I know is I sign contract from real estate I don't think there's any BC contract that I sign.

    • Generally they have a clause saying the owner will abide by the rules of the OC and I couldn't see any competent real estate agent not putting that in. Whether they got the contract is a different question.

      • Every unit I've rented presented me with the building rules, or the rules were next to the front door.

      • Yup it is in the contract about acknowledge to abide by the OC rules but the rules is not in the contract that I signed.

        • Talk to VCAT. They should have included a copy of Owners Corp rules if you are expected to abide by them.

  • +13

    Next time you leave something there wear a facemask. Make them work for the $350 CCTV fee.

    I would fight it. It would be a different story if you left something heavy or oversized.

    • They detected from my fob when I use the lift. Face mask won't do it.

      • Without knowing more specifics that doesn't sound like concrete proof.

        • So they capture me putting the bucket on the floor, then trace my steps with different CCTV using middle lift and using the timestamp of the fob key in the lift matched the CCTV recording.

          • +4

            @iregretmyusername: Ok, that's fair enough. Wow, so much investigative work over a bucket. They may have a good scheme going on here.

            As others have said I doubt these are enforceable. Just lodge a VCAT if they refuse to back down, it'll cost them more to fight it (and they will know the likely outcome for them wouldn't be good, or only a fraction of their demands at best).

            • +3

              @Gnosh: wow, and murders and thefts don't get solved…was it by any chance the team from CSI: Body Corp? - Ep5 The case of the lonely bucket

      • Pack a change of cloths in a bag, go to your mates house, get changed, put your mask on, then come back and do sht next to the bins.

        Go back to your mates house, change into the first set of cloths, come back to the apartment block and call body corporate and tell them to clean it up. Depending how petty and spiteful you are, pay the $350 CC retrieval fee so you have a nice memento.

  • do the crime pay the fine….time to clean up your act OP!

    • +1

      pun intended?

  • +8

    You're a tenant, you're not even an owner. You have no obligation to pay. It's clearly unreasonable and a simple request to you to put it in the bin wouldve been fine.

    • +3

      This is bad advice. As a tenant you would have signed a tenancy agreement, you'll find most tenancy agreements (ex freestanding property etc) will have a clause that stipulate that strata by-laws are applicable. If the fine was correctly issued, either the owner or tenant is going to pay. Otherwise your offloading the enforcement and cleaning costs onto all building owners which is hardly fair.

      Sure, recognise that it's a just a bucket in this case but what about a couch? Or a mattress? Rules need to be written somehow.

    • Silly advice. The cost will be passed along to the unit title holder who will just recover it from the tenant.

  • +15

    We had BC try and charge us a ridiculous CCTV retrieval fee when our apartment was broken into. We told the police detective investigating our case, and he basically told them to go (profanity) themselves and their fees, and give him the footage immediately, which they did. Unfortunately nothing came of the investigation, but at least that part was amusing.

    • +7

      The difference between you asking for CCTV footage and the police asking for CCTV footage.

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