- This topic has 45 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago by .
16/12/2019 at 9:32 am #46552
Col Schultz said: “Assuming you mean a request from a lot owner to see the emails, I would take that as a request for an inspection of the records and handle it that way.”
So how would you “handle it” when your strata manager says that his professional organsiation, the SCA, tell its members that they shouldn’t provide email addresses as part of a strata roll inspection?
Hypothetical challenges are all well and good but they don’t help anyone. I have contacted the State government on this and they are still trying to come up with a definitive answer. Until such times as they are instructed otherwise, I’m pretty sure strata managers will take the line of least resistance and not provide email addresses as part of the strata roll.
As I pointed out several posts ago, there is widely used strata management software out there that allows SMs to hide owners’ email addresses with the click of a button.
So, again, how would you “handle” that?
16/12/2019 at 1:25 pm #46582
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by .
There has been yet more to-ing and fro-ing on this and, to be honest, it’s getting us nowhere so, reluctant as I am to censor anyone, I have shut it down. There has been enough speculation (of which I have also been guilty) and we a re going round in circles.
The facts are that strata managers are advised not to provide email addresses for “privacy” reasons. There is a body of opinion that privacy laws don’t apply in this case. This opinion may be invalid. However, we can’t find a single case where the “privacy” ruling has been challenged successfully or otherwise (that’s not to say it hasn’t happened, just that we can’t find an instance).
Right now an officer at the NSW Customer Services department is contacting Fair Trading and Justice (who look after NCAT) to get a definitive ruling. So, please, no more bush-lawyering … it’s getting us nowhere.
I am interested, however, in Flatchatters’ experiences in coming up against this rule. I’m also curious to know how you’d feel about having your email address available to your fellow residents and owners, in exchange for theirs being available to you.16/12/2019 at 4:14 pm #46590Colonel SchultzFlatchatter
“I don’t mind if other residents have my email.
If they send anything nasty I just block them or make them go through a white list process of having to confirm their own email which is amusing for me.
I never give out my mobile number however.
16/12/2019 at 4:16 pm #46588AustmanFlatchatter
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by .
scotlandx said “An APP entity is a business that has a turnover of $3 million or more, I am not sure a strata scheme is a business, and any scheme with less than $3 million coming in a year would be exempt anyway.”
I agree. The vast majority of strata schemes in themselves would be exempt from the Privacy Act because they turn over less than the required $3 million. I suppose that means a self managed strata scheme could supply lot owner email addresses if they chose to. Or that it wouldn’t be the Privacy Act that prevented them from doing so.
But strata management businesses that turn over $3 million or more will not be exempt from the Privacy Act. I can understand why they are reluctant to supply lot owner email addresses.16/12/2019 at 5:45 pm #46606Flame TreeFlatchatter
Why does it matter if you are on the role as a renter anyways? Interested to learn sumfink.16/12/2019 at 5:50 pm #46613
If you accept that a strata scheme is a community whose members have shared benefits and responsibilities, then you want to know who else is in that community and who has access to all your shared facilities. (Unless they are holiday lets, in which case we are expected to neither know nor care who’s in the pool with the kids.)
Also, these days, schemes with more than 50 percent of renters have to allow for the election of a tenants’ rep on the committee … but they only count tenants who are registered on the roll.17/12/2019 at 9:21 pm #46694David NgFlatchatter
Yes, but what do you do if someone in your scheme wants everyone’s email addresses? That’s not a challenge – I genuinely want to know how you would handle it.
I tell new owners that we do our correspondence by email and that they should provide an email that they’re fine to share with other owners. I don’t ask their permission, I tell them how things are done and what is needed.
I have helped one person set up an alias email for this purpose, the others are fine with their main email address being used amongst us all.
I find it cuts down on meeting duration because they’ve had a chance to discuss the impending matters and get a full understanding of the issues and how various proposals will affect them and the building.
So far no resistance and it will be interesting see how it goes if one of our deceased owners unit is sold next year.17/12/2019 at 9:24 pm #46701
… or when one of your owners uses the email addresses to start campaigning about an issue.
This is what strata committees and strata managers are worried about – owners being flooded with “fake news” or, even worse, actual facts.02/01/2020 at 11:48 am #47231
As a WA strata owner I applied to inspect all strata records in March 2017 and, despite the committee approving the request, obtaining orders from the State Administrative Tribunal,  WASAT 15), all excluding privileged documents to be made available, I still haven’t seen the most significant records (including communications between owners/strata manager/council members) which “do not sit in the strata records” or are deemed by the strata manager to be private/confidential/privileged.
The orders, made as requested by the strata company, obligated it to provide electronic copies of all strata records excluding those which are privilegrd IF provided with an undertakung to not share the information with ANYONE. On appeal, the undertaking requirement was negated  WASCA 190 AND the strata company must satisfy the SAT that withheld records are privileged.
Having not done that it is currently liable for prosecution for contempt of court and continues to blame ME for the impact of litigation on our insurance premiums and the insurer’s decision to increase the excess for management committee cover from $1k to $15k while capping cover to $100k.
It has become obvious that even the SCA does not understand relevant legislation and the belief of many strata owners is very wrong. The legislation exists to ensure transparency and protect owners fron unscrupulous, unethical and self-serving conduct. Oppose it at your peril.
The Privacy Act has no application, irrespective of an organisation’s turnover, when a the organisation is obligated by legislation to allow its records to be inspected because:
PRIVACY ACT 1988 – SECT 3
Saving of certain State and Territory laws
It is the intention of the Parliament that this Act is not to affect the operation of a law of a State or of a Territory that makes provision with respect to the collection, holding, use, correction or disclosure of personal information (including such a law relating to credit reporting or the use of information held in connection with credit reporting) and is capable of operating concurrently with this Act.</p>
Note: Such a law can have effect for the purposes of the provisions of the Australian Privacy Principles that regulate the handling of personal information by organisations by reference to the effect of other laws.
Consequently if legislation compels a strata company to allow a person to inspect strata records, whatever is contained in them (including email addresses, arrears, complaints against neighbours and other information generally considered to be “private” or “confidential”) must be provided without alteration. The only records that can be lawfully withheld are communications between the strata company and its legal advisor regarding threatened or anticipated litigation involving the owner who requests to inspect the records IF privilege is not waived by sharing it with a 3rd person (note: other owners are not 3rd parties but the strata manager may be).
Strata managers, council members and/or owners who do not want information to be seen by persons who are eligible to inspect strata records should not provide it (even anonymously) [in the first place] because if wrongfully withheld the strata company commits an offence…adherence to the SCA policy or “protecting the privacy of others” is NOT a valid defence.
08/01/2020 at 3:25 pm #47627dwaFlatchatter
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by .
I am interested, however, in Flatchatters’ experiences in coming up against this rule. I’m also curious to know how you’d feel about having your email address available to your fellow residents and owners, in exchange for theirs being available to you.
When I bought my WA unit 11 years ago, the strata manager supplied email addresses along with postal addresses.
A few years later, when I sought to update my records, my request to update email addresses was rejected citing privacy concerns. Postal addresses were updated.
Two years ago, the same request from a different strata manager was rejected on the basis that email addresses were not part of the strata role.
My attitude is that in 2020, an email address is essential to communication, whether between owners or the strata manager. I have no problem with my email address being provided to other owners.08/01/2020 at 3:26 pm #47623dwaFlatchatter
As a WA strata owner I applied to inspect all strata records in March 2017 and, despite the committee approving the request …
I’m curious as to why your committee approved your request. When I’ve inspected records, I’ve taken the position that the COO has no right to prevent owners viewing records because this is covered by the legislation.
ShouldWhen the matter of cost are raised, I’ve made the argument that because this is also covered by the legislation, it’s something the strata manager needs to bear.
This is not to say that a simple request to view records has been simple. My last request took over two months of back and forth before I was reluctantly allowed to view records for two hours at the Strata Manager’s offices.08/01/2020 at 3:32 pm #47641
This from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC):
APP 6 permits the disclosure of personal information in certain circumstances, such as if required or authorised under another law, but APP 6 itself does not compel the disclosure personal information.
Furthermore, the APPs generally do not apply to organisations with an annual turnover less than $3million. As such, we are generally unable to advise on whether an owners’ corporation with an annual turnover of less than $3million must make emails obtained for inclusion on the strata roll available to owners.
So what they’re saying is that since the Australian Privacy Principles don’t apply to strata schemes (of under $3 million turnover) they can’t say whether or not they apply.
How stupendously unhelpful.
09/01/2020 at 8:19 am #47684
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by .
Having read the council’s correspondence they no doubt agreed in ignorance of the fact that their communications could be inspected…why do people who get elected to manage a strata company act as if they and only they are entitled to know what they are doing with the property and funds of all owners? it is especially irksome when the people who do this demanded full transparency previously.09/01/2020 at 8:21 am #47686
I’m not sure why you think the Privacy Act would compel anyone to supply information since its purpose is to ensure that it isn’t except in appropriate circumstances.
The 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) commenced on 12 March 2014. They regulate the handling of personal information by Australian government agencies and private sector organisations with an annual turnover of $3 million or more (“APP Entity”). The 13 APPs are contained in schedule 1 to the Privacy Act 1988.
This Act compels such an APP Entity to have a clearly expressed and up to date policy about its management of personal information. The policy must include the following information (amongst other things):-
- the kinds of personal information that the entity collects and holds;
- how the entity collects and holds personal information;
- the purposes for which the entity collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information;
- how an individual may access personal information about the individual that is held by the entity and seek the correction of such information;
- how an individual may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, or a registered APP code (if any) that binds the entity, and how the entity will deal with such a complaint.
The Strata Company is subject to a number of obligations under the Strata Act. These obligations will override the Privacy Act to the extent of any inconsistency.
Assuming the legislation in other Australian states also obligates the strata company to allow strata records to be inspected the above applies everywhere.
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