The current property market in Queensland has seen a growing increase in apartment living, with many of these buyers being new to Body Corporate. As an owner it is important to familiarise yourself with how to live harmoniously in a Body Corporate Community.
A recent article in the Courier Mail shared some of the most common Body Corporate complaints and disputes that had been taken to the office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM).
The scheme that had the most amount of Body Corporate adjudications between 2019-2021 came in at 24 disputes. The second came in at 18 disputes closely followed by the third highest number of disputes at 16.
So, what are some of the most common Body Corporate adjudications and how can you promote harmonious living in your strata title?
Insurance battles, water supply, and withheld compensation payments are among hundreds of adjudications that the state’s watchdog has been called on between 2019-2021 involving only 40 strata schemes.
Some of the primary issues raised in Body Corporate adjudications can be seen below:
- Committee election
- Caretaker appointment
- Owing a debt
- Secret ballot
- Electricity meter
- Disputed payments
- Insurance claim
- Meeting processes
- Voting validity
- Invalid by-laws
Now that we have looked at what disputes are most common, let’s look at how to resolve disputes.
The behaviour of Owners and occupiers in a community titles scheme is regulated by the general law. However, each community titles scheme has some specific regulations for behaviour. These regulations are known as by-laws.
Lisa Li, SSKB Community Manager stated, “When you are new to a community, it is important to familiarise yourself with the by-laws for the scheme. This will ensure you are aware of the expectations and will assist in creating a harmonious living environment between you and all residents”.
By-laws The Rules Regulating Behaviour
The unique regulations for each Community Titles Scheme are contained in the by-law(s) in the Community Management Statement. The by-law(s) exist to assist all occupants to live together harmoniously.
A Body Corporate may make by-law(s) for:
- Administration, management and control of common and Body Corporate assets; and
- Regulation of, including conditions applying to, the use and enjoyment of Lots, Common Property, Body Corporate assets and services and amenities supplied by the Body Corporate.
Enforceability of By-laws
By-law(s) contained in the Community Management Statement are binding mutual covenants on the Body Corporate and a Body Corporate does not have a free hand to make rules about any subject matter.
How can you handle disputes before they escalate?
Be calm and polite
Whether you are communicating via verbal or written communication you should always ensure you are calm and polite.
If the community or your Community Manager becomes involved, you are more likely to achieve your desired outcome if you have approached your concerns in a non-confrontational way.
Document your dispute
If you have approached your issue in a calm and friendly manner and the issue continues to persist, you should start to document what has been said and done. This will assist you in the case that the dispute continues to escalate.
While SSKB promote harmonious communities and most strata communities have little to no issues, unfortunately sometimes instances will occur where Owners may be required to seek assistance. If you are new to a Body Corporate and are still getting used to community living, click here to read another SSKB article that may be of assistance.
If you have any concerns about disputes in your Body Corporate, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Community Manager to discuss these issues.