Owners Corporations and Strata Title has been integral to Australia’s growth in the last 30 years. Owners Corporations in Victoria and in other States for the large part has been beneficial for owner-occupiers as housing, for investors, for students, for tenants seeking convenience, and for the building industry.
And with 1 in 4 Victorians owning a property in an owners corporation, we take a look at some of the most issues that come up for owners corporations in Victoria:
- Building Defects – namely water ingress/leaks, EPS cladding, ACP cladding, or other defects issues. Who is Liable For Building Defects in Victoria?
- High Owners Corporation Fees – the budget is set at the outset before the building has finished, the actual costs of running the owners corporation can often differ from the budget. For all owners corporations and especially for newer buildings, reviewing all the operating cost line items and service contracts is a good idea.
- Levy Arrears – significant levy arrears can place an undue burden on the budget of owners corporations. It is vital that the owners corporation and the owners corporation managers take a proactive approach in managing levy arrears.
- Modifying Common Property or Renovations within Private Lots/Units – approval and process should be followed, as well as ideally consideration of others in the owners corporations.
- Parking – sometimes buildings can have insufficient parking for residents and their visitors. Parking in visitors spaces (for too long) or people parking in private car parks can be a common issue in owners corporations in Victoria and other states.
- Achieving a Quorum at the AGM – be it disinterested owners or overseas investors, what can owners corporations and owners corporation managers do to generate more interest and involvement from owners?
- Electing a Proactive Committee – in Victoria, owners corporation greater than 13 lots must elect a Committee to represent the Owners Corporation. A proactive and involved Committee is vital in the successful running of any building as the owners corporation manager is reliant upon the Committee for directions and instructions on key operational matters.
- Noise and Peaceful Enjoyment – owners corporation living is often in a lot closer proximity than that of the traditional house on the quarter acre block. For example, smoke drift is an issue that’s been commonly discussed in recent years.
- Disagreement or Poor Advice with the Owners Corporation Manager – like any relationship or dynamic there can be disagreements. Sometimes the owners corporation manager has the unenviable task of dealing multiple stakeholders and personalities. Sometimes the Committee or Owners Corporation Manager receives poor advice – for example, we have heard a occasions whereby the owners corporation paid for and received non-VCAT compliant defects reports, meaning they had to repeat the process.
- Replacing and Changing the Owners Corporation Manager – with over a 1,000 registered owners corporation managers in Victoria, we’ve seen a few OC’s make the wrong decision and having to try again 2 or 3 years later. Our view is that it’s prudent to undertake proper due diligence and also understand the transition process (i.e. what needs to be done and by when. How to Change Owners Corporation Managers?