Building anger over rogue tradies | Strata Committees | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Building anger over rogue tradies
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JimmyT
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04/08/2012 - 2:32 am
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QUESTION: In my strata plan the EC is using unlicensed tradespeople to carry repairs of more than $20k. When questioned they have a “so what” attitude.

They also now claim they didn’t know and nothing can be done. When threatened with a complaint to OFT the EC say they have immunity and nothing can be done to them. Is this true?

I can’t believe they have no responsibility to the Owners. The Strata Manager won’t say much in order to keep their job – Objectiviti, via Flat Chat Forum

ANSWER: There is no such thing as immunity from legal action for Executive Committee members.  EC insurance protects them from being held financially accountable for bad decisions made in good faith, e.g. if they genuinely believed that their decision was legal and in the best interests of the Owners Corporation.

However, if they have been informed that they may be breaking the law or not protecting the interests of the Owners Corporation, and they persist in their actions, the question of culpable negligence comes in and that may invalidate their insurance.

It depends on the insurance policy but I think you will find that coverage often evaporates when they have knowingly and deliberately broken the by-laws (or any other laws, for that matter).

On the question of the actual work undertaken, you should insist that the EC hires an independent surveyor to see if the work has been done properly.  You never know – this unlicensed tradie might actually be good at his job.

If it’s not up to scratch and the EC should tell the builder to refund the money or they will report them to Fair Trading where the fines for doing unlicensed building work are hefty.

If they’ve disappeared (as unlicensed builders often do) you should write to all owners explaining how their money has been wasted, demand that all the culpable EC members resign and, if they were complicit in hiring unlicensed tradesmen, sack the strata manager too.

There’s a lot of good information from strata managers, lawyers and other readers about the use of unlicensed builders, alng with the original post and answers HERE.

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