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  • #49915
    AvatarFromthenorth
    Flatchatter

    Thank you for your advice (See this post).

    The chair has just sent this email:

    Hello All,

    A reminder that all contact with Strata Management must go through the Chair. To do otherwise will incur a debt to the unit holder.

    Thank you for your co-operation.

    Chair

    Is this legal ? Can a unit owner be charged for contacting the strata manager directly ?

    • This topic was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by .
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  • #49935
    AvatarBanned
    Flatchatter

    There is nothing in the act that requires a “point of contact” whatever that may be. There is the Secretary functions.

    Normally A POINT OF CONTACT is an agency agreement term which may faintly fall under contract law –  not sure about that.

    The Chair does not have any such functions or powers under the SSMA in my opinion.

    Just make everybody a point of contact, that’s what i was advised by a lawyer.

     

     

    #49931
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    I agree with JimmyT that there’s probably no legal basis to insist that all communications to the SM go though the chair.

    It can for sure be requested to be done that way and might make sense for most matters but I doubt it could be upheld or that a lot owner could be charged for not doing it.

    There have been some published VCAT cases of “troublesome” lot owners and they were dealt in other ways.  Eg the SM stopped answering their calls and simply forwarded their emails to the committee.

     

     

    #49924
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    “Is this legal ? Can a unit owner be charged for contacting the strata manager directly ?”

    Of course they can’t.   Anyone can contact a strata manager directly.  It’s up to the SM to decide if the matter should be referred to the committee.

    They could try billing you any charge that the SM charges the OC to handle the matter.  But that wouldn’t survive if challenged at VCAT.  The SM’s fees are subject to a contract been the SM and the OC, not a contract between the SM and lot owners.   OCs are actually limited in what they can charge a lot owner.  Basically it’s levies and legislated late interest.   Anything else is subject to VCAT approval although that doesn’t stop some OCs/SMs from trying.

    Some details are here:

    https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/owners-corporations/finance-insurance-and-record-keeping/fees

    “Note: An owners corporation cannot charge a lot owner any other fees or charges, such as an ‘administration fee’, for overdue owners corporation fees.

    Further, an owners corporation manager cannot require a lot owner to pay any fees due to the manager under the contract.”

     

    #49930
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    “…A reminder that all contact with Strata Management must go through the Chair. To do otherwise will incur a debt to the unit holder…”

    I wonder if behind this, unstated, might be a history of one or several owners communicating so frequently with the SM that the manager has threatened to charge extra for the amount of time spent dealing with that owner. The SM would in any case prefer to have one known approved communication channel, generally the committee chair or secretary or treasurer from whom to receive clear consistent instructions that reflect committee decisions. From my time on a committee, I recall instances of individual owners being troublesome trying to give contractors instructions bypassing the committee or making unreasonable demands of the manager.

    This might not be what is happening here but I thought it worth mentioning that there could be a backstory to this email that has nothing to do with the current matter.

    #49923
    Avatarg-g
    Flatchatter

    Yes – depending on your SM agreement.  Your Secretary/SM can provide you with a copy.

    It is common practice to nominate someone from the strata committee to be the ‘contact’ person (usually the Secretary), and a motion to that effect should be recorded in AGM and/or SC minutes.

    By the way, the Chairman of a Strata Committee has no specific role/authority outside of meetings, whilst the Secretary and Treasurer do.

    #49919
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Unless there is a by-law in place to that effect (and even then …) I can’t see how this could be enforced.  I would send a reply to everyone just asking “on what legal basis?’ Are they going to add the charges to your fees?  Will you lose your vote if you refuse to pay?  If you ask what part of the Act allows them to do this and why they want to, that might flush out the facts.

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