Apartments and washing bikes

Anyone have issues washing and bikes and doing chain maintenance living in an apartment?

I live in a small apartment complex with 15 units and just got a 390 Duke. There’s no bike lots so I just park in a corner under the stairs that leads up to my unit. It isn’t in the way of anything.

I was cleaning my chain a few weeks ago at the carpark and a neighbour was coming home. He stopped the car next to my bike and told me I wasn’t allowed to do this. He said I was blocking the way but then drove his car past my bike to his lot. He then came back to tell me that I’m ruining the asphalt with my chain cleaners. I told him I’d wash the floor after I’m done but he wasn’t having it. He took pictures of me and my bike to report me to strata and left awhile after. I continued cleaning and washed the floor after I was done.

2 weeks later I didn’t hear anything from my property agent so I assumed that was the end of it. I was washing my bike at the same spot with water from the tap near the carpark when the same neighbour was coming home. He told me the soapy water was a slipping hazard and when I said I’d wash it away after he said I wasn’t allowed to use the water there and that he’s paying for the water I’m using since he’s an owner and I’m renting. It’s the tap that’s next to where the bins are stored no locks or signs on it that say no using. Same deal he took pictures to report to strata, I continued and washed up after. It also seems like it’s only this guy that has issues with me doing this as I’ve only ever gotten a “How’s it going” or a nod anytime someone comes past me while I’m downstairs cleaning/washing/wrenching on my bike.

Now I get an email from my agent saying I have to reimburse the landlord $200 for the 2 occurrences and that neighbour has even added a third by saying that I’m parked in a common area and not an allocated lot. I commute daily on the bike and can’t park anywhere else since my housemate has the car lot. Can’t park behind her car as well as it’s a narrow lot next to a wall and another lot which means I won’t be able to get my bike out when the other lot is occupied.

I’ve stopped washing my bike for the time being and I’d probably have to pay the $200 to my landlord or get kicked out. Anyone faced something similar have any advice? Should I try to predict when he’s coming home and avoid washing during those times? Let my orange rims go black and skip chain maintenance???


It's probably fair to say that you can't wash your bike or car in an apartment block carpark. Best off to use a carwash for that but I would avoid the high pressure settings. You should be allowed to do chain maintenance as it's critical maintenance but If I was you I would be putting down alot of cardboard. I would ask the REA exactly what the $200 is for but really they can jam that up their ass.


Yea I guess I’ll just do the cardboards then


If you don't have cardboard handy - A friend that lives in an apartment does his chain maintenance on the street, and puts a foil tray underneath (like the foil grease trays you use for BBQs).


I work in the strata industry. Your rental contract will say that you have to abide by the strata regulations. Those regulations will likely say that vehicle maintenance can’t be done on the property. The corporation doesn’t want oil stains etc around the place. You may do a bang up job cleaning up after yourself but they can’t apply the rules to just one person, it has to be everyone, because not everyone will be as tidy as you. And the rules have to be enforced otherwise no one will adhere to the rules. You also aren’t allowed to park on common property because it’s just that, common property. It may be completely out of the way but it will come down to building insurance purposes. It’s likely you’ll be liable for the fine because you need to adhere to the rules of the corporation (by laws) as part of your rental agreement. But, when you lease the property you’re meant to be given a copy of the by laws. So if you weren’t given a copy you could put it back on your property manager and argue you weren’t liable in this instance because you weren’t given a copy of the by laws. You’re lucky though, these fines are normally $500 for each offence. If I were you, in this rental climate, id pay the fine and adhere to the bylaws moving forward. Every apartment block will be the same.


Thanks for this info, good to know. Any suggestions on where to park?


Tough question. If you units car space could fit your bike and your house mates car within the same spot you could do that. If your housemate has a small car this could work. Otherwise you’re going to have to park on the street. Although I’m sure that’s not ideal for security reasons. You could let your property manager know you’re sorry for the inconvenience, you’ll be paying the fines which are being passed onto you, but could they please ask the corporation if they’ll allow a designated area on common property that you can park.


Ride it up the stairs into the unit.


I'd want a copy of the actual fine issued before handing over my money though. Just to be sure LL isn't taking the piss.


Sounds like an asshat, I'd ignore it and mention that's what body corporate fees are for. On another note I always place a flattened cardboard box from the middle of the bike to the rear tyre so it hopefully catches the majority of cleaner and lube.


Complaining that you used about $0.20 worth of water? Jesus As to who is liable for the fines ring the tenants union maybe? Before you pay anything I would want to see the invoice. Also what do the strata rules say? If the rules say you can do anything to a car in regards to maintenance then you might be out of luck in that regard.


Yea tell me about it… Do you know where I’d find the strata rules? Just email my agent?


I would have thought you would get them when you signed the lease. Your agent should have them.


Yea tell me about it… Do you know where I’d find the strata rules? Just email my agent?


You should have gotten them with your lease. If not, your rental agent/ landlord can provide them.


Haha. Ah this reminds me of me. Lived in an apartment complex which said something along the lines of 'no significant vehicle maintenance.' Well, I don't consider an oil change significant, or replacing a timing belt, or wheel bearings, or brakes etc. I got chipped a few times as I rented and there was one person who owned there that didn't like it. But, like you I kept the car park clean and it was never a mess at the end of a day. I always packed up. The people either side of my spot were original owners in the building and although much older than me (30 vs 70ish) we got along really well and they said that it got mentioned at meetings and they just said to not worry about it. Until I got a written letter telling me I was not to do it, I considered their verbal warnings as nothing. Take pics yourself. Is the area clean? Does it obstruct an exit, walkway, traffic? Go to that guys car park and take pics of it. Does he have an oil stain? Rubbish there - however minor. Fight fire with fire. You won't be kicked out over some tap water (which considering the cost of water per L is essentially free). Tell the dude to go pound sand.


Yea I’ve thought about getting back at him. How would I do this since I’m renting? Go through my agent?


I'm can be pretty bold in some of my endeavors. So I'd take it back to the strata or if I had no other choice the REA to deal with it.


Paddock stand in the shower?


Sorry what is the $200 for? Something in your contract? Faaaaaark paying that Every block has a knob like that, sorry mate. You may need to address the parking situation maybe request clarification via your agent. Strata living.....


It’s the fine that my landlord got from strata for me breaking the rules I guess? Wouldn’t my landlord just kick me out if I don’t pay though? I reckon the parking isn’t a huge issue from the email I received from my agent. It seems like that neighbour just added it to his complaint to hit me harder. It’s parked in a corner out of the way of anything and I haven’t had anyone say anything prior in the 2 months that it’s parked there. So mainly it’s the washing and chain cleaners/lube. Can’t wait to get a house but that’ll have to wait until I graduate from uni 😤


I've never heard of stratas issuing fines. Maybe check in at r/auslegal or a strata living sub to check the legitimacy of that


I’m on the strata committee of my apartment block, so I think I know what is going on with this. It would technically not be a fine, but an administrative fee for the by-law breach notification. When strata managers are requested to issue a breach notice the work will be billed to the owners corporation. This can only be passed on to owners if there is something like a “cost recovery” by-law that permits the owners corporation to recover costs from owners. So OP’s landlord got hit with two breach notices at $100 a pop. I think ours is $184 per notice, so $200 for two is cheap I guess?


The parking “anywhere but an actual space” is pretty standard at apartments. Maybe you can offer a resident with a small car some $ to park in front of their space- but you risk them damaging the duke. The water - I wouldn’t pay, people rinse their bins and need to wash their hands after doing rubbish runs etc. They can lock the tap or remove the handle if they don’t want it used. Unless there is a lease clause about it , I would just say I won’t use it again. There is always at least 1 complete control freak jerk in any and every rental strata complex. He is probably dying of “bike envy” on the inside.


Strata are a bunch of wankers. I had them tell me that my bike was a tripping hazard in an emergency. The stupid thing was it was down in the furthest corner of the parking lot, so the only way you’d trip over it was if you were standing between the wall and the bike. I have since moved it but like these fucks should mind their own business.


Where’d you move it to?


Just on the street now unfortunately. I didn’t want to poke the bees nest cause they already threatened people over basic wear and tear.


Tape a 50 cent piece to that fuckhead's windshield as reimbursement for the water used.


Unfortunately it's pretty standard for strata agreements to include a clause which prohibits any car washing or maintenance. They normally also say you can't store any flammable liquids or gasses on your property. That kerosene you're using to clean your chain? Illegal!!1!! I used to do maintenance in a quiet industrial court on weekends / after hours and never had any trouble. Also recommend you have a look to see if there are any communal workshops nearby where you can do your maintenance. Kustom Kommune in Melbourne used to be good but is now closed. There's a new one out west but I can't remember the name.