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  • #52596

    In December 1999  I  sold up my strata flat in Melbourne and moved to NSW where I bought another strata flat with of course a different Strata  Manager.

    I paid   my current strata  fees until July 2020 (by BPay) but in July I mistakenly  clicked on the wrong recipient and  the payment went to my Mel strata managers instead of the current ones. I didn’t pick this up until recently when I got an arrears notice from my current managers.

    There  followed  phone calls and emails with the Mel strata mgrs and I sent a copy of my bank a/c  showing the incorrect transfer  which they acknowledged and said I would be reimbursed.  .

    But now they are quibbling and saying I can’t be reimbursed  until the current owners of my former Mel flat have paid the July fee  themselves……., (and it’s a mystery to me why the current owners did not pick up that someone else …me….. had paid their  fees). .

    I pointed out that I made the payment to themselves the Strata  managers and therefore it’s between me and them but they talk me down   repeating over and over that the current owners have to pay their arrears first and the owners are dragging their heels.  .

    I am thoroughly confused by this as it was a simple and straightforward keyboard slip on my part , it’s clearly shown in my bank a/c, which they acknowledged.  Surely I don’t have to take legal action over this?

    Please, what can I do?. I would appreciate advice.   Thanks.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by .
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  • #52713

    I don’t believe that I should have to take it up with these owners and that this should be dealt with by the strata mgrs, to refund me, then deal with the owners themselves.

    I think you are being a bit harsh on the SM, who has stated that you will be refunded.

    When you paid the levy in July,  the BPAY Biller Code and Reference Number equated to the other lot’s account.  So it’s the other lot owner who benefited.  But they probably would not have been aware.

    Had your error been picked up sooner, you probably would have had a refund without too much of an issue.  But it took around 3 months before it was discovered.  That’s a very big factor.  All the banks and the financial regulators state that these type of errors do need to be reported promptly.

    When you paid the levy in July, the other lot’s account would have gone into credit for that amount.  When it came time to issue a levy notice to the other lot, if the amount in their account met or exceeded that levy, no levy notice would have been issued.  So the other lot owner didn’t pay anything because one one asked them to.   And the levy amount would have been transferred from the other lot’s account to the OC’s account.   And possibly then spent by the OC on its regular expenses.

    So the SM now has to manually issue the levy notice to the other lot.  And give them the legally required 28 days to pay.  Once the other lot pays that levy, their account will have enough funds to enable the SM to refund you.

    It’s quite a bit of work for the SM to do.  It might not be fast enough for you. It does seem to be their preferred method.   And you should get your refund…  eventually.







    Thanks for the great advice everyone, much appreciated.  The Mel strata mgrs have asked me to write to their Operations Manager which I’m in the process of doing, just to complete my paper trail.  I’m actually astonished by their attitude of duck shoving.  They are now putting it on the back of the current owner of my previous flat who are clearly not at all bothered that a perfect stranger …. me… has paid their fees,  and refusing to do anything .

    I don’t believe that I should have to take it up with these owners and that this should be dealt with by the strata mgrs, to  refund me, then deal with the owners themselves.But it looks like  I’ll have to go to NCat or VCat  about it which I will do if I have to. .  Will also contact my bank. It’s all so tiring.   🙁


    Since you are in NSW and the SM is in Melbourne, I would file the claim in NSW. It means they have to either get representation in NSW ( a lawyer or make a trip) or they don’t appear, which means you win.

    I bet if you file in NSW they’ll realise that its going to cost them a whole lot more to defend the action rather than just pay it.


    I suppose if you have no joy with any of the above suggestions, then you can file a small claims summons in the court or through VCAT. You don’t have to get a lawyer as you can do this yourself and the filing fee is claimable. Once legal action is commenced it might prompt someone into giving you back your mistaken payment.


    The new owner does not have any right to keep the money.

    Agreed and the OP should be contacting their bank too.  But even the banks can be limited with BPAY reversals and might refer the OP to the biller.

    Looking at some instances of this, they can take quite a while to resolve.  They are messy because the funds went into the new lot owner’s account and were then transferred out of that account, fully or partially, to the OC’s account as levy payment.  That’s how it appears in the StrataMax system that many SMs use.    So the funds are not actually in the new lot owner’s account any more.   Neither the SM nor the OC has likely done anything wrong as anyone can pay a lot’s levy if they wish – it’s very commonly done – they don’t need to be a lot owner.

    One can understand that SMs have to be cautious about refunding from a lot owner’s account.  It’s the new lot owner that should be approving that or returning the funds themselves.

    Hope it works out for the OP soon.




    Go to the bank. This is a mistaken payment, and there are processes to deal with it. The new owner does not have any right to keep the money.


    Have a look at this advice on the Consumer Advice Victoria webpage.  Contact them and tell them you have done all you can to resolve the situation.  At the same time, contact your former strata managers and tell them that’s what you’re doing. And ask your new strata managers if they can make a call on your behalf, just as a favour (they have no responsibilities in this but a bit of inter-profession nudging can’t do any harm).

    Come back to us if there is no response

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by .

    I think it’s a bit more complicated than “keeping money that isn’t theirs”… it’s usually because an owner has accidentally paid into right strata account but for the wrong lot.

    Normally, I might agree with you but the OP isn’t even a client of this company any more. So it’s not a matter of merely paying money into the wrong account, it’s paying money to people who weren’t entitled to it in the first place. Messy.


    Thanks Jimmy… I don’t now if they’re members but for me to get a response from SCA I’d have to join first at a cost of over $100.   Can you suggest who else I can go to please?   Fair Trading,  solicitor, I’m a bit stumped here but really tired of getting talked down by those people as it seems pretty clear to me that what they’re doing is illegal.


    I think it’s a bit more complicated than “keeping money that isn’t theirs”.

    This issue comes up quite a bit.  It’s usually because an owner has accidentally paid into right strata account but for the wrong lot.

    You have accidentally paid into another lot’s account.  You effectively paid that lot owner, not the SM or the OC.

    SMs have restrictions on how money is used and refunded from lot accounts.   They would generally need the lot owner’s permission to make any refund.  And there would have to be enough funds in the lot owner’s account to make that refund.   No doubt the other lot’s levy has already been paid to their OC from their lot owner account, so there’s likely now not enough funds left to give you a refund anyway.   Until the lot owner pays their levy that is.

    You are in a situation similar to if you accidentally paid anyone.   You’d usually have to ask the person you accidentally paid for a refund, not the institution that handled the funds transfer.

    Or this case ask them to pay their levy.


    Are either of the strata managers concened members of SCA. If so, how about contacting them?

    The simple fact is that the Melbourne strata managers are illegally keeping money that isn’t theirs.  The technical term for this is “stealing”.  Perhaps SCA could remind them of that.

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