Alerts

From time to time, the OCN identifies, or has brought to its attention, various concerns that arise in the day to day life in a unit plan.  Some of these merit being publicised so that members can avoid pitfalls that have entrapped others.  Some arise from reported shortfalls in managerial or owners corporation execution of function.  And others  impart knowledge potentially useful to committees or individual members. 

Approval of Owners to Transfer Management Contract - NEW Amended March 2017

If you received a notice on or about 16 January 2017 that your manager was seeking the written approval of individual owners to transfer your management contract to a new management company PLEASE NOTE.

One executive committee challenged the lawfulness of the notice and the process behind it in ACAT.

The result is that the proposed new management group agreed to withdraw the formal notification of 16 January 2017 and recommence the process in line with Section 53 of the Unit Titles (Management) Act 2011 by

  • informing the relevant owners corporation through the executive committee secretary of the proposed transfer and requesting the owners corporation call a special general meeting to decide whether to approve the transfer or not;

  • providing the information outlined in section 53 (2), as well as the fee structure of the new management business and the proposed management contract to the owners corporation through the executive committee secretary; and

  • restarting the clock on the 30 day period in section 53(3) so that the decisions of properly called meetings can come into effect.

Ian McNamee decided not to seek to transfer of UP930 to Whittles Strata Partners Pty Ltd and the respondents failed to attend ACAT for a further Directions Hearing.

Presidential Member Symons then ordered

  1. Pursuant to s. 129(2) of the "Unit Titles Management ACT 2011" and by close of business 13 March 2017, the First Respondent , Ian McNamee and Partners Pty Ltd provide to the Applicant in the amended Application, the Executive Committee of the Owners Corporation of Units Plan 930 an electronic copy of the Corporate Register, including e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, to enable the Executive Committee to notify unit owners of this litigation.

  2. The First Respondent, by close of business 13 March 2017, pay to the Executive Committee the sum of $163.00 being the $145.00 filing fee and two company searches of $9.00 each.

  3. Subject to the above orders being complied with the Applications filed 23 January and 13 February 2017 are withdrawn and dismissed.

The award of costs is usually taken to indicate that ACAT decided the application in favour of the Applicant (refer S48 of the ACAT Act).

Conflicts of Interest

A recent ACAT decision about conflict of interest, Gracie v The Owners Units Plan 3411, has significant implications for owners corporation decision making. Please see “Are there rules or processes for dealing with conflicts of interestsbetween owners?” under Owners Corporation Decision Making under the ACAT Decisions heading.

Input on new Draft Nature Strip guidelines – Before 5pm 2 March 2016

Nature strips are a key feature of Canberra’s garden city character. They are designed to present an attractive street frontage and are typically planted with grass and a street tree. Residents are expected to mow nature strips, maintain them for safety and remove weeds or rubbish including from rain gardens which have been installed in the nature strips of new suburbs such as Crace to assist with catching and filtering stormwater.

The current nature strip guidelines require residents to gain approval to utilise the nature strip, including to plant gardens or store materials temporarily.

The ACT Government has developed a new draft guide on the use of nature strips which proposes to allow residents to utilise their nature strips for food production or small gardens. These guidelines aim to reach a balance whereby residents can use the nature strip, but without causing amenity or public safety concerns.”

Depending on the design of your complex, you may wish to fill out this survey or make a submission on the new draft Nature Strip Guidelines at

 

http://www.timetotalk.act.gov.

But you need to do so before 5pm Wednesday 2 March.


Separate water metering

Separate water metering can be installed, but it may require the unanimous concurrence of all owners.  For more information please read the article on Separate water metering .

Short Term Tenants can be the Neighbours from Hell

To read more including the background please click on the link: Short Term Neighbours can be the Neighbours from Hell.

Funny Finances

How is it that we are not balancing our budgets?

There is a little known quirk in many of the accounting packages managers use that even some of those managers are not aware of.

To read more please click on the link: Funny Finances.

Reported hot water system failure

Some central hot water systems can fail after as little as 8 years of what seems normal service. Follow the link to Reported Hot Water System Failure for a detailed report of one such failure.

More ACAT Decisions

We have just added a new batch of Q and A to the listing of ACAT Decisions.  It may well be worth you going through them - it could stop you re-inventing the wheel!

A win on Sinking Fund Legislation

The Sinking Fund provisions in the Unit Titles (Management) Act were recently amended by the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2). The amendments generally strengthen the Sinking Fund arrangements and ensure that a Sinking Fund can be used to ‘save up’ for major repairs outside the current 10 year Sinking Fund Plan, as well as save and spend within the current Sinking Fund Plan.


This is one of several changes to the Act that the OCN have been lobbying for, so we are very pleased to see it enacted. We like to think we might have had some small influence!

Suggestions for new FAQ sheets

The OCN maintains a regular dialogue with the relevant government agencies concerned with the application of the Unit Titles (Management) Act.  As you are probably aware, the government issues a series FAQ sheets (frequently asked questions) which are very helpful in interpreting many important aspects of the Act.  The OCN has recently made some suggestions for the issue of a further set of sheets on topics where we find there are frequent mis-interpretations made by strata managers and/or Executive Committees.

These suggestions concern:

  •  1.       OCs should be the ones to decide  their banking arrangements, they are not obliged to accept whatever their strata  manager practices .

  • 2        The Unit Titles Act overrides the Agents Act if there is any hint of confusion.

  • 3.       Insurance excess is paid by the owner of the policy – hence by the OC and not by a unit owner.

  • 4.       Corporate Register information is the property of the OC for the EC to act on, but they must follow appropriate Privacy Policies.  The strata  manager can not refuse to give this information to the OC/EC. 

Sustainability makes sense - so should you be doing something?


The Unit Title (Management) Act 2011 is changed significantly from the previous legislation to make it easier for owners corporations to install sustainability  infrastructure both privately and on common property. 

One of our members, Peter Campbell, has spent much time and effort in getting agreement to install solar panels and other measures on the common property of his own corporation.  He has now agreed to share his experiences with us all.  Maybe he will inspire you to look critically at the possibilities within your own corporation.  Follow the link to find out - Sustainability in ACT Unit Titles.


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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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The Administrator,
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