The body corporate committee is elected yearly at the annual general meeting. The committee is tasked with the administration and day to day requirements of the body corporate. At SSKB, we are often asked how body corporate committee members can settle disputes that arise in meetings?
The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act) in most circumstances, requires an applicant to have attempted internal dispute resolution (self resolution) prior to making a conciliation or adjudication application. However, there are often cases where disputes cannot be settled in committee meetings and as result; a dispute order may be submitted to the Queensland Body Corporate and Community Management Commissioner.
Orders from the commissioner can set precedents for future cases and can assist body corporate committee members who may be experiencing similar issues. In recent weeks, an adjudication order was made in response to a dispute between a lot owner and the body corporate – the case went as follows:
John Cerejo (applicant) vs. The Body Corporate for Coomera On The Park (respondent).
- The applicant, John Cerejo was a committee member at Coomera on the Park. He said he was primarily concerned with being allowed to use a recording device to record body corporate committee meetings and general meetings to ensure that accurate minutes were taken. Additionally, he wanted to ensure threats were not made during committee meetings, and draft minutes were issued quickly.
- Mr Cerejo was concerned that for a number of years meetings had been recorded with a recording device, and it allowed for accurate minutes where matters had been forgotten or missed by the minute taker. The Chairperson, in support with the committee then decided that recording devices would no longer be permitted in meetings. As a consequence, Mr Cerejo claimed that there had been omissions from minutes and that they were no longer satisfactory to him.
The adjudicator considered the following issues to decide whether or not banning recording devices was a breach of legislation:
- Can a committee decide not to allow recording devices in meetings?
- What should be done about committee members being allowed to attend meetings “without being threatened”?
- Should draft minutes be issued “at least within two weeks” after body corporate meetings?
The adjudicator’s order:
- I am not satisfied that the committee’s decision to not allow recording devices was unreasonable, particularly as I am satisfied that the committee is complying with its legislative obligation to provide full and accurate minutes. In respect to his other outcomes, Mr Cerejo has been unable to satisfactorily prove that the legislation has been breached.
- For the reasons given in my order, I will dismiss Mr Cerejo’s application.
It is evident that this dispute is set against a backdrop of conflict between Mr Cerejo and the caretaker.
- It would assist matters if all parties attempted to put this history aside and tried to
work constructively in the future.
For further information on recent adjudication orders and dispute resolution, see:
Queensland Body Corporate adjudication orders: