A bizarre COVIDSafe rule has led to some Victorian residents seemingly being forced to display a QR code outside their homes by their body corporate.
The stringent regulation appears to require residents living in units, flats, townhouses and residential apartment buildings to have a QR code system, so all visitors – including family, friends and tradespeople – can check-in on arrival.
The strange rule has left some residents dumbfounded and out of pocket after they were forced to pay for the QR code.
Even Acting Premier James Merlino admitted today he was unsure of the regulations around the technicality.
Ms Ross, who lives in a Sunbury unit, said she did not even share a common driveway with her neighbours, let alone communal spaces and facilities.
The system meant anyone who came to visit her home had to check-in – including family.
When she questioned the rule, she was bizarrely told by her body corporate her pipes ran under the other units on the property, so she had to comply.
“I am actually a freestanding driveway and a freestanding house,” she said.
“Apparently my pipes run under the common property of the other units. But I have the original farmhouse.
“I have to have my family check-in as well.
“I stuck my QR code at the front door. I don’t want to get a fine from the government.”
In another case, Karen Egan said her 85-year-old mother had copped a $180 bill by her body corporate to set up the system at her townhouse.
“It’s just absolute nonsense,” she told Mitchell.
“My first reaction was it’s a rort from the body corporate.
“It’s a freestanding townhouse, one of four – it’s just like four small houses,” she said.
“The only communal area they have is a driveway.”
“This includes visitors to private residences within the site, or trades and service providers working within private residences or common areas,” it states.
Mr Merlino was quizzed about the requirements for QR codes at private residences today, admitting he was unsure of the rules.
However, he did not think they were needed at residential properties.
“I wouldn’t have thought so if it’s residential,” he said.
Real Estate Institute Victoria President Leah Calnan described the strict QR code regulations as impractical.
“To take it to another level for individual apartments is ridiculous,” she told Mitchell.
“It’s just not practical. It doesn’t work and people are not going to do it.”
The technicality means as many as 700,000 or more Victorian residences could be required to have a QR code.
National Franchise Manager for MCMB Strata Specialists, Richard Reid, admitted the advice provided to body corporates regarding QR codes had been “conflicting”.
“Our advice is that any owners corporation must have one, and that’s for anybody visiting the common property,” he said.
“The advice is conflicting, we’re not certain about it, but if the regulations say that we take a very conservative approach because we don’t want our owners corporations being fined.”
Strata Community Association Victoria has called for clarity around the regulations.
“We’re asking them to really let us know what situation and what properties require a COVIDSafe plan and QR codes,” President Gregor Evans told 9News.
The Victorian Government has introduced fines of up to $1652 for non-compliance with check-ins at businesses.
It is not yet clear if the fine will also apply in residential settings.