This month I am responding to three frequently asked questions to the BCCM Office’s information service.
Q. I think my body corporate isn’t complying with the act. I don’t want to lodge an application for dispute resolution. Why won’t the commissioner simply investigate my complaint?
A. The jurisdiction of the commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management is limited to providing a dispute resolution and information service. While the BCCM Office may provide information about the act, it cannot provide legal advice and cannot investigate a matter unless that investigation is carried out by an adjudicator on the basis of an adjudication application.
Even during the process of adjudication, parties still have responsibility to produce evidence to support their claim. They cannot simply make a claim and rely on the adjudicator to find supporting evidence. However, an adjudicator is authorised to require parties to provide other appropriate evidence.
Q. My body corporate has just hired a new body corporate manager who goes against any motion I put up to an annual general meeting and never answers my correspondence. I am an owner in the scheme and have been told that I can’t lodge an application against the manager. Why not?
A. Section 227 of the act governs who may be parties to a dispute and is very particular about the combination of parties who may have a dispute under the act.
Only the body corporate can lodge a dispute against the body corporate manager. This is because the contract for supply of body corporate management services is between the body corporate and the body corporate manager. As an owner you may only lodge a dispute against another owner in the scheme or the body corporate for the scheme.
If the body corporate has not included your motions on the agenda for the general meeting, you may be able to lodge an application naming the body corporate as the respondent in the matter.
Q. I am a lot owner. I saw on the financial statements that I owe debts to the body corporate. I asked the committee what these debts are and was told that it’s none of my business. Can I see financial records and find out where these debts came from?
A. Any “interested person” has access to any body corporate record, including financial records and information about a lot owner who may be in debt to the body corporate. An “interested person” includes a lot owner, an agent (for example a solicitor), a mortgagee, a prospective buyer, and “any other person who satisfies the body corporate of a proper interest in the information sought”.
See section 205(6) of the BCCM Act for further details.
The secretary for the scheme must have a list of the people who have the right to vote available for inspection at any general meeting. This list will not include members who cannot vote because they owe a debt (section 55 Standard Module).
These responses are provided for information only and do not constitute legal advice. As with any matter, general information on the body corporate legislation can be obtained from the information service on freecall 1800 060 119.