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  • #55573
    stratamadness
    Flatchatter

    Hello, there’s a real estate agent in our building, who’s using the strata roll to promote his business.

    He sends emails about new property listings etc.

    Is this allowed? I would have thought not, but I’m not sure.

    He also manages several apartments in the building, and pretty much has access all areas – including the car park. He often parks in an owner’s parking spot when he knows a tenant isn’t using it.

    Is there anything that can be done about this situation?

    Oh, and one last question – seeing he manages apartments in the building, would he be suitable to become a committee member? I feel there’s a conflict of interest and he should be excluded.

    Many thanks, and over to you

     

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by .
Viewing 13 replies - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #55886
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    The problem is, he manages several apartments in our building, so he has security swipes for them, and uses them to conduct his business, personal or otherwise. Is it possible to restrict him in any way?

    The committee should conduct an electronic swipe audit (which all apartment blocks should do periodically) then cancel the swipes for everyone except bona fide residents.  The law demands that real estate agents make arrangements with tenants before they visit occupied properties so he really doesn’t need to have multiple swipes.  If he objects tell him that having so many swipes in the possession of one person undermines security in the building.

    #55880
    stratamadness
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    The problem is, he manages several apartments in our building, so he has security swipes for them, and uses them to conduct his business, personal or otherwise. Is it possible to restrict him in any way?

    #55805
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Thank you. How do I find out if I CAN actually ban him from floors he doesn’t live on (apart from floors where he manages apartments)?

    Tha committee should instruct the strata manager to limit the floors to which he has access to those where he owns property.  If he needs swipe keys to access the other floors he should apply and pay for them accordingly.

    #55796
    stratamadness
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    It’s possible the agent is trespassing.

    On private property, you can only be there is you are invited or you have a lawful reason to be there.

    perhaps the committee can write to the agent noting his actions and the spevefically limiting what he can do. You need to make it clear that neither in the capacity as an owner nor as an agent are his actions necessary for his business.

    Effectively what you will be doing is uninviting him from the premises, which would support any future legal action of trespass.

    Thank you. How do I find out if I CAN actually ban him from floors he doesn’t live on (apart from floors where he manages apartments)?

    #55703
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    It’s possible the agent is trespassing.

    On private property, you can only be there is you are invited or you have a lawful reason to be there.

    perhaps the committee can write to the agent noting his actions and the spevefically limiting what he can do. You need to make it clear that neither in the capacity as an owner nor as an agent are his actions necessary for his business.

    Effectively what you will be doing is uninviting him from the premises, which would support any future legal action of trespass.

    #55697
    stratamadness
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    One more thing.

    Our building has floor-by-floor security, so you can only access the floor you live on.

    But, the owner/real estate agent manages several apartments in the building, and pretty much has access all areas – including the car park. He often parks in an owner’s parking spot when he knows a tenant isn’t using it.

    He also gains access to floors he doesn’t live on, to put private notices under doors.

    Is there anything we can do to stop him?

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by .
    #55659
    scotlandx
    Strataguru

    That’s a tricky one. The real estate agent is not the party collecting the information, which is where the Privacy Act obligations usually start. So the $3 million turnover question is moot.

    However, the disclosure of the strata roll information by the strata manager is permitted to the extent it is required or authorised by law. In this case you can disclose it for purposes within the Strata Schemes Management Act – it’s reasonable to say what the real estate agent is doing is outside those parameters.

    That leaves you with the issue of how you control a third party using information in this way. I suggest you contact the strata manager and ask them to tell the real estate agent that use of the information in this way is not acceptable and he should cease immediately. You could also tell the real estate agent he is doing more damage to his business than good.

     

    #55657
    chrisva9
    Flatchatter

    Has this agent supplied a means of opting out from his emails? If not, he may be breaching spam rules: https://www.acma.gov.au/what-spam#spam-rules

    If you feel that the agent is breaching spam rules, a complaint may be made at https://www.acma.gov.au/spam-complaint-form.

    #55598
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Sadly, he IS an owner, so according to your advice, we can’t prevent him from becoming a committee member.

    So you make sure at the next AGM there are more candidates than seats available, forcing an election at which you will make sure you already have the numbers to keep him off the committee.  The fact that he’s been using the strata roll to promote his business should be enough to persuade owners not to vote for him.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by .
    #55590
    stratamadness
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank you for taking the time to reply – I appreciate it.

    Sadly, he IS an owner, so according to your advice, we can’t prevent him from becoming a committee member.

    *sad face*

    Thanks again for your input.

    #55584
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Under the privacy act, personal information can only be used a) with the permission of the owner (ie the lot owner) and b) only for the purpose intended or stated.

    According to this government fact sheet, the Privacy Act only applies to organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, unless prescribed under the Privacy Regulations (2013).   This rule is what allows owners the right to see all the email addresses held by the owners corp or strata managers for their scheme.

    Section 7 of the Privacy Regulations prescribes real estate agents as coming under the Privacy Act only in reklation to a residential tenancy database (see below) and I’m not sure if this specific behaviour would breach the Act.

    The Privacy Act also has rules on Direct Marketing, but again, I’m not sure if a small real estate agency would be covered.

    Just to be clear, I think what this rental agent is doing is immoral and wrong – I’m just not sure if it’s illegal.

    Again, it’s up to individual owners to block the emails.  The question remains of how the estate agent got hold of the email addresses (unless he is also an owner).  That would seem to be where the privacy breach occurred.

    Privacy Regulations – 7  Small business operators treated as organisations

    Small business operators that operate residential tenancy databases

                 (1)  For subsection 6E(2) of the Act, a small business operator that operates a residential tenancy database is prescribed.

                 (2)  For subsection 6E(2) of the Act, the following acts or practices of a small business operator of the kind mentioned in subsection (1) are prescribed:

                         (a)  an act done, or a practice engaged in, in connection with collecting personal information for the purpose of establishing or maintaining a residential tenancy database;

                         (b)  an act done, or a practice engaged in, in connection with maintaining personal information on a residential tenancy database;

                         (c)  an act done, or a practice engaged in, in connection with using or disclosing personal information that is stored on a residential tenancy database.

    Definition of residential database (in Privacy Regulations):

    residential tenancy database means a database that:

                         (a)  stores personal information in relation to an individual’s occupation of residential premises as a tenant; and

                         (b)  can be accessed by a person other than the operator of the database or a person acting for the operator.

    #55581
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    Whilst owners and certain interested parties have unfettered access to the strata roll, the use of the strata roll information is limited.

    Under the privacy act, personal information can only be used a) with the permission of the owner (ie the lot owner) and b) only for the purpose intended or stated.

    Since the lot owners probably did not sign up to receive advertising material, the agent is breaching the privacy laws.A sternly worded letter and followed up by a lawyers letter if they don’t comply should be the first steps.

     

    #55577
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Unless he his also an owner, section 32 (b) of the Act would forbid him from being elected.

    32   Persons who are not eligible to be appointed or elected to strata committee

    (1)  The following persons are not eligible for appointment or election to a strata committee or to act as members of a strata committee unless they are also the owners of lots in the strata scheme—

    (b)  a person who acts as an agent for the leasing of a lot or lots in the strata scheme to tenants.

    Regarding the strata roll you can ask the committee to tell him not to use it (although they have no power to prevent him).  Perhaps they could threaten to advise owners that he is breaching privacy and that they should take care in their dealings with him.
    But really, it’s up to individual owners to ignore or block his emails, which is very easy to do.
    Perhaps an email from the committee to all owners saying the strata roll has been used without permission and that they can block emails from this person (and telling them how to do it) would dothe trick.
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