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Unit Owners Seeking Change

When is a Change of Committee Chairperson or a New Secretary Needed?

The Act now provides that every Body Corporate must annually elect one of its Unit Owners to the position of Body Corporate Chairperson. This position carries significant duties and obligations. Our experience is that very few Bodies Corporate are able to find a volunteer for this position.

Whilst it was formerly a mandatory requirement, the Act now also enables Bodies Corporate to resolve to not have a Committee. For all that, many Bodies Corporate are run by one or more Unit Owners acting formally or informally as a Committee. Whilst, in some cases, these arrangements can work fairly well, we find in the majority of these situations there is widespread discontent and much that should be happening is simply not happening. It is not uncommon that one or a small group of the Unit Owners has gained or assumed control including unfettered power to make the decisions of the Body Corporate.

We have been appointed as the New Secretary of the Body Corporate in a number of these situations and we usually find a trail of poorly conceived decisions and edicts made in the past that have no proper foundation in terms of Body Corporate law or governance.

In some other cases, Unit Owners are suffering under a previously appointed Body Corporate Secretary who may have severe conflicts of interest or, for any number of other reasons, is not performing up to the expectations and satisfaction of the Unit Owners.

The above situations are not uncommon and we have been asked on many occasions to step in or provide a solution. It is not necessary to keep on putting up with bad administration of your Body Corporate and it doesn't take much to get things on to an improved and happier footing. Without doubt, the values of the Units will not be rising as quickly as they should be in situations where bad administration regimes are in control.

Please contact us for further information.

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts Of Interest

It is our view that a Body Corporate Secretary needs to free of every possible conflict in order to be able to act in a truly impartial manner when it comes to matters affecting the interests of the various Unit Owners. Broadly speaking, Unit Owners fall into two categories - they are either Owner/Occupiers or Investor/Owners. The objectives of these two categories of Unit Owners are, for the most part, significantly different.

If a Body Corporate Secretary owns or works in a Real Estate/Property Management company that also handles either the selling or the letting of any of the Units, there will always be a conflict of interest.

This conflict is inevitable because of the different objectives of Investor/Owners wanting to keep up their rental income flows and Owner/Occupiers wanting a peaceful existence. A Body Corporate Secretary who has to worry about keeping some of the Units tenanted always faces difficulties (especially when tenants are hard to find) and will be hard pressed to act impartially in the best interests of all Unit Owners due to the temptation to put any available Tenants into an empty Rental Unit as a first priority, irrespective of the possible disruptions to other Owners and/or Occupiers.

In the same way, there will usually be pressures on a Body Corporate Secretary who, at the same time as having to carry out his secretarial duties impartially, is trying to sell one or more of the Units. Some issues are bound to exist or arise which necessitate a choice between pleasing the Vendors of the Units that are for sale and pleasing the Owners of all of the other Units.

Our views about conflict of interest in the Body Corporate field are, understandably, not popular with many companies that operate in the Real Estate and Property Management sectors. We have been told by some of the bigger operators that they have taken steps to avoid these conflicts by keeping the sales, lettings and Body Corporate Secretarial divisions completely separated within their company. Readers can judge for themselves. We feel this makes little difference. The separate "divisions" all come under the umbrella of a single company organisation.

Please contact us for further information.

How to change your Body Corporate Administration

There are two steps you need to undertake if you find yourself in an unsatisfactory Body Corporate situation relating to either an unpopular Body Corporate Chairperson or an inept or unacceptable Secretary and these steps are set out below:

  1. Firstly, talk in confidence to some of the other Unit Owners in your complex to establish how many of them are as unhappy as you are. If you need to know the identity of the owners of some of the other Units in your complex, you can click on contact and get in touch with us to find out.
  2. Then contact us by telephone to obtain details of the manner in which we think your Body Corporate should be run in the areas that are upsetting you and to find out how much we would be likely to charge if we were to be appointed to carry out its Secretarial duties independently, competently and professionally.

We will then be able to advise you about the next steps that will need to be taken in order to bring about the desired change. If you prefer, you can contact us in order to make your initial enquiries before taking any of the above steps. Please contact us.

An important point to remember is that no Body Corporate Secretary should ever be appointed before full details of his/her experience and qualifications have been notified to those making the appointment and every care needs to be taken to ensure there are no possible conflicts of interest. For more information on Conflicts of Interest visit our Unit Owners Seeking Change page and see FAQ question 2.