This week the body corporate commissioner handed down his judgement on a dispute between a lot owner of Sailfish Point and the body corporate of Sailfish Point. This Was a dispute that has taken over a year to evolve and come to a conclusion.
To read the details of the order click on the below PDF -
Disputes in body corporate will always come up from time to time its just the nature of the business. What I’m hoping to highlight here is the cost this owner has imposed on all owners, committee and caretakers of sailfish point and the simple way it could be avoided.
Firstly body corporate legislation is not simple and often and I’m talking 90 % of the time lot owners take what is written and interpret the legislation incorrectly. This case is a perfect example of a owner reading the legislation and then interpreting what they have read to best suit there own situation.
How did this happen, its quite simple owners are very uneducated on what body corporate basic functions are. The misconceptions I constantly see relates to the body corporate Being identified as the builder - if your lot is defined by the standard format plan and has a defect from when it was built then you need to contact the developer and builder to take out your frustration at his mistakes. The lot owners are responsible for maintaining the lot in good condition note the important reference here is the lot owner not the body corporate.
Not understanding who the body corporate is and what building format you are associated with is the issue and in this case dr google has endless information to support the above and could have saved the body corporate funds that are way better spent maintaining the complex.
Now highlighting the burden this lot owner has imposed on all 99 lots of the scheme, this is a issue I have with sailfish point it appears for many years some owners in the complex seem to have a attitude that leads to conflict, I make no apologies for my harsh stance on the small group of owners who purposely look to go against and cause disruption to the body corporate committee and myself. I personally think these owners are very selfish and have no respect for the majority of owners who they continually burden with the cost of dealing with there unjustified complaints.
Firstly all owners are entitled to challenge the body corporate through the commissioners office that is not my issue. Where I take issue is when owners charge into the dispute and take no regard for the cost of the dispute. The legislation requires the body corporate to send material to every owner that is 99 owners who need to be posted all the correspondence of the application. This also needs to be prepared and involves the body corporate manager, caretaker and a sometimes a solicitor which I can tell you is very expensive exercise. Then there is the time the committee who are volunteers need to attended to the matter this may not be a value that is determined by a dollar amount but i can assure you time is money and committee members time has value and this time could be spent dealing with other more pressing issues in the complex.
Currently approx cost of this dispute is below these are my estimation of the time and money spent on responding to the applicant and commissioner regarding this dispute.
Body corporate manager ( Archers ) $193 per hour approx 5 hrs = $965
Printing costs $887 16 pages sent to 99 owners
Postage costs. $260 postage to 99 owners
Caretakers time preparing reports : Approx 8 hrs was spent researching and providing and preparing reports for commissioners application normally this would be completed by a solicitor charging $500 per hour but this was a services we provided to the committee free of charge to save the owners the cost of employing a solicitor or paying the body corporate manager to respond to the claim. ( for any one that thinks this is apart of our contract as caretakers let me assure you it is not )
Committee time Spent 2 hrs outside of body corporate meetings.
Currently the admin total cost for the Dispute are approx $2112.00 which if you read the dispute the owner was trying to make the body corporate pay $2500 for her Insurance excess. If you add the extra time saved by the caretakers and account for the time spent by committee members then you can start to see my issue and why I would consider this lot owner to be very inconsiderate of the real cost of her application.
It makes me wonder why a small group of owners constantly want to challenge not only myself but the body corporate manager. The owner was given all the information leading into the dispute and if you read the commissioners ruling you will see the contractors the applicant used also highlighted this fact that lack of maintenance was the issue. Instead of reading the reports she was given or listening to Archers body corporate recommendation from the committee, this owner decided to take the matter to the commissioners office. This has ultimately cost the owners of sailfish point and is something we can not control other than to write articles highlighting the issue with hope common sense may one day be actually common.