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Committee decision reasonableness

Key lessons for Committees:

  1. When a lot owner raises an issue, research your Body Corporate records thoroughly;

  2. Don't simply rely on what your Body Corporate manager says, especially if the manager was appointed by the developer before your Body Corporate was made up of independent owners;

  3. Take into account how much your Body Corporate may pay in legal fees before digging your heels in on an immovable position.

In 2021, Queensland had more than 18 times more published adjudicator’s decisions involving Body Corporate disputes compared with Victoria’s VCAT owners corporation decisions.

Often, disputes can be avoided by partnering with a Body Corporate Manager that diffuses disputes before they get out of hand.

In the Adjudicator’s decision in Lanikai on Brighton, a Southport Body Corporate Committee was found to have not acted reasonably when it declined a lot owner’s request to relocate the body corporate’s water circulation system for a water feature from one of his 2 exclusive-use car spaces to an alternate location.

It was very important to the lot owner that he could park at least 2 motorcycles in his exclusive-use car space.

When the lot owner inspected the car space during construction of the building, there was no water circulation system installed on the car space. Sometime after the lot owner agreed to buy the unit and car space and before the building was certified for occupation, the developer had installed the water circulation system in the car space, thereby preventing the lot owner from being able to park two motorcycles on it when he finally moved in.

When the lot owner asked the Body Corporate Manager for records about when and how the water circulation system was installed in his exclusive-use car space, he was met with responses that the Adjudicator called “incongruous and internally contradictory and confusing”.

Ultimately, both the lot owner and the Body Corporate engaged lawyers and obtained expert reports at their own expense.

The Adjudicator found that the Body Corporate had not acted reasonably by declining to relocate the water circulation system, even though it would involve costs potentially exceeding $15,000.

The Adjudicator also ordered the Body Corporate produce from its records any records relating to the installation of the water circulation system.

The Adjudicator also found that the dispute had gone on too long (about 3 years) had the potential to cause disharmony within the scheme and came at financial and personal expense to the lot owner.

Here at the (nuu) co we believe that all lot owners should have access to all of their body corporate records all of the time. That’s why we provide online 24/7 access to all lot owners to all of their records. This eliminates the role of the body corporate manager as a records ‘gatekeeper’, increases transparency and reduces unnecessary disputes that cause community disharmony.

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