The recent change to Australia Post services has highlighted an issue for strata communities to consider.
Australia Post’s new service standard means two speeds of mail – standard and priority – and two pricing models.
This means that mail that goes via standard post will arrive up to two business days later than previously.
For committees, this may result in delays to important decisions while waiting for lot owner responses.
James Nickless, partner of Clarke Kann Lawyers identifies the issue:
The Acts Interpretation Act provides that a notice will be deemed to have been served in the ordinary course of post, unless the contrary is proven. The term “ordinary course of post” will have potential different meanings, depending upon the method of regular post used as well as the origin and destination of the notice.
Accordingly, the actual date of deemed service of notices will vary depending upon the evidence submitted in relation to the ordinary course of post between the origin and destination of each notice. This will have an impact upon notices served by the Body Corporate, such as Notices of Annual General Meeting, Levy Notices, Remedial Action Notices, Contravention Notices, etc.
Given that a Notice of General Meeting is required to be given at least 21 days prior to the date of the General Meeting; it will be highly problematic for Bodies Corporate to have owners being deemed to have received the Notice on different days, depending upon their address for service.
Alternatively, a body corporate may decide to send communications via priority post which has a delivery timetable of one to four working days, depending on destination.
This service is available from Australia Post at an extra 50c over and above the $1 standard postage rate.
If a committee instructs SSKB to send postal communications via priority post, the priority fee will be on-charged to the body corporate/owners corporation.
SSKB recommends that all lot owners opt in to receive contribution and other notices electronically to ensure prompt and secure delivery.
This can be done easily by going to http://sskb.com.au/paperless and filling in the form.
If you would like to know more about Australia Post’s new changes, you can find more information here: http://auspost.com.au/changes-to-your-letters-service.html