Where the health and happiness of a strata community depends heavily on the success of the relationships within it, it is important that disputes are resolved the way which is most likely to preserve those relationships into the future. This is why self-resolution features so prominently in community management legislation across various jurisdictions and why it is often a prerequisite for other types of dispute resolution.
The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act) requires someone who has a dispute with the body corporate, committee or another owner or occupier to have attempted to resolve it with that other party prior to making a conciliation or adjudication application.
This attempt at self resolution includes any reasonable endeavour or step taken to attempt to resolve an issue within the body corporate before lodging a formal dispute resolution application.
What are some examples of internal dispute resolution?
Your attempts may include:
If the issue requires a committee or body corporate decision, the first step might be to write a letter to the committee outlining the circumstances of the issue and your request. The committee can then advise whether they can grant approval, or may direct you to submit a motion for the next general meeting if the issue is one upon which the committee cannot make a decision.
Individuals and bodies corporate are encouraged to investigate any other reasonable methods of self resolution.
What processes can a body corporate adopt for internal dispute resolution?
Many disputes that reach The Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM Office) may have been avoided if the parties in dispute knew how to have their concerns considered by the body corporate.
For this reason a body corporate may consider establishing an internal dispute resolution process for its scheme. The body corporate would simply need to pass a motion by ordinary resolution adopting the process. The details of this process would be decided by the individual scheme, but may include:
What are the benefits of internal dispute resolution?
What if my attempts at self resolution are unsuccessful?
If your attempts at self resolution are unsuccessful you may make a conciliation application with the BCCM Office. Evidence that you have made an attempt to resolve the dispute yourself is required when making your application for dispute resolution.
If you need more details or any assistance negotiating a dispute within your strata community, call your SSKB Body Corporate Manager or contact the BCCM office.
The Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM Office)
Information Service telephone (freecall): 1800 060 119