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  • #37377
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Hi all,

    I am an owner but am not on the Strata C’tee because I insisted on transparency. Gaining access to the OC’s accounts has been very hard over the years. Finally when I did gain access, many documents were missing.

    Recently every owner agreed to change managing agents. Just prior to the change, I asked to inspect the books held by the soon to be ex-managing agent. Lo and behold, SOME documents previously denied me magically appeared. Amongst them was a lot balance report of the Tsr.

    I saw that a couple of years back rather than pay $1,000 in levies in one qtr he paid $10,000. No explanation at the time or since was given why he made such a payment.

    A month after his $10,000 payment, the strata manager withdrew $10,000 from the OC’s account. No explanation by the managing agent or the SC or the Tsr at the time or in the documents made available to me elaborate on why this dubious payment was made and to whom.

    Two months later the Tsr’s lot balance report reveals the strata mgr paid the Tsr $10,000. No explanation at the time or in the accounts made available to me explain why $10,000 was repaid and repaid without the OC’s approval.

    I asked the new managing agent to look into this and his reply was “this was done by the previous agent, I cannot help”. Of course this is obfuscation at best. ALL available records were handed over to the new agent. How can the previous agent help, even if he wanted to as he has no documentation with him.

    What steps can I take to get to the bottom of these “irregularities”?

    Thank you.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by .
Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
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  • #37660
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Good evening,

    I rummaged through the SSMA and found sections relating to the OC Trust Account.

    Mention is made of a strata agent having to explain transactions (as I seek from the agent), but s.58-61 refers to the OC asking for information and explanations. Not an individual proprietor.

    Can the SC, in particular the Sec/Tsr (or managing agent) refuse my “pls explain” letter by arguing that I am not the OC?

    And if so, how to I get around that? Note the Sec/Tsr has previously refused my requests, claiming they were not in the correct legal format. This was most commonly done when I sought some transparency in the reporting of the financial accounts.

     

    #37621
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Hi Johnny,  until a few years ago all 6 lot owners were on the SC. But when some works had to be done ($80,000 or so) and I insisted on multiple quotes, not just the two offered by the Sec/Tsr, he  made a speech indicating he can’t work with me. He convinced three senior citizens (lot owners) to vote with him. And so he had 4 votes in the bag (him+3) before he even bothered with the 6th lot owner. He in effect removed me form the SC.

    He also had an issue with me refusing he be paid for work he did on the OC property without ever seeking approval in advance. Yes Sir. He bought materials, did the work and asked for the money he said he was entitled to. No quotes from others were given in advance of the work being done. Heck, he did not even quote in advance. Having 3 others under his spell meant he KNEW he’d be paid even without seeking prior approval. I don’t know if the other owners are cowards or easily intimidated.

    And to think years ago before we had a managing agent he mixed his money with the OC’s. Very, very  unsavoury behaviour, IMHO.

    #37603
    Avatarjohnny red tips
    Flatchatter

    Just a thought – Why don’t you get yourself elected onto the SC? It shouldn’t be too difficult, You can self nominate.

    #37576
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Great. Thanks JT.

    I shall keep y’all posted as news comes to hand.

    #37568
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    You can set any time limit you wish but Section 232 of the Act specifies two months as the non-response time that triggers the potential for orders for not doing their job.  Of course, if you have asked in writing before, or they respond earlier with a “no comment”, then that time scale will be shorter.

    #37565
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Sir Humphrey you excel in furnishing advice. In the finest traditions of the civil service, may I add.

    I thank you very much. Your logic (including giving the SC 3 weeks to reply) coupled with JT’s recommendation that I take a non- aggressive line of questioning is surely the best way to go, when all things are considered i.e. I really do want the information I seek and I want to appear very reasonable to FT/NCAT if the matter ends up there.

    One more thing

    You mentioned when seeking  a reply from the SC, I should be reasonable and and give them time to meet and discuss my complaint/email. Just to elaborate on the make up of the SC: there are just 2 members: the Tsr/Sec (being the person who was paid at least one lot of $10,000) and the Chair (who has been and remains an unquestioning  rubber stamp). I think therefore the only thing (if anything) that changes from your advice is that I think 2 weeks should be enough time to get the Tsr/Sec (being the same person) to direct the agent to look at the records in his possession and to pony up a reply. Agree?

     

    #37545
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Just keep it simple. I would send it to the secretary but copied to the treasurer and strata manager, addressing it to the committee as a whole asking for an explanation from the committee. The committee could instruct the manager to respond. Alternatively, a role of the committee is to supervise the treasurer. The buck stops with the committee and you will have ensured they get it addressed to them.

    I would also give the committee more than 5 days so that you give the committee sufficient time to arrange among themselves to meet to discuss and decide their response. Ultimately, you want to be able to demonstrate at the Tribunal, should it come to that, that you were utterly reasonable at every step and gave them ample time to investigate and respond.

    As JT suggests, keep it simple. You just want to know what those particular transactions (state the amounts and dates) were about: from whom, to whom, for what purpose. Don’t go into any theories of your own or airing of other grievances. Keep it simple. At most you might note that you had made previous enquiries on particular dates.

    You could conclude by stating: ‘I intend to take the matter further with appropriate authorities if I do not receive a sufficient explanation by (some date, say 3 weeks later).’

    #37538
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Good evening gentlemen,

    I just saw p2 of replies to my query. I missed it when I looked earlier.

    Thank you JT and Sir Humphrey.

    As I understand you, I should first put a “please explain” letter to a SC meeting.

    Problems:

    1. The Tsr/Sec eschews such meetings. He prefers to act in secret and that his views are rubbed stamped by the Chair without the glare of any non SC member querying his actions;

    2. He never sends out agendas to non SC members;

    3. He never sends out minutes of SC meetings to non SC members;

    4. He has never asked non SC members to list items on the agenda of a SC meeting.

    I may be wrong, but as I see it, my options are:

    1. Send my “pls explain” letter to the managing agent and Tsr/Sec for listing at the next SCM. BUT, there may not be one for months or years. In fact I do not recall one being held in the last two years. So my letter may go yellow before it sees light of day at a SC meeting; OR

    2. Send the “pls explain” letter to the agent and Tsr/Sec asking for a reply in 5 days to my queries. Note the agent (surely at the behest of the Tsr) advised me a couple of days ago that as he wasn’t the agent when the irregular transactions took place, he cannot explain them. Of course the Tsr/Sec who benefited at least once from an unauthorised payment from the OC’s a/c to him did not pony up an explanation as to that windfall nor about the other missing $10,000.

    As I understand you two, the more specific my queries to the managing agent and Tsr/Sec, the better. If they don not reply or if they reply as they have to date ie most unsatisfactory, then I can seek mediation, with just cause.

    True?

    #37509
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Sir Humphrey is right.  The formulation of your application to Fair Trading would be guided by what it is that you want, and for that you would have to address what it is that the strata committee has failed to do (in terms of the strata Act).

    So make the request official – either through a “please explain” motion to the committee or a letter to the treasurer and then, if there is no adequate response, seek mediation under section 232(2) of the Act as a prerequisite for seeking orders at NCAT.

    Just to be clear, the process at Fair Trading is entirely about mediation.  They won’t make a ruling.  For that you have to go to NCAT and for that you need to have tried mediation (in most cases).

    Once you have been through mediation, your options range from getting an explanation to seeking orders to have the treasurer or the entire committee sacked.

    Your reasons for seeking those orders could range from the committee’s failure to fulfil its duties (section 232) to the Treasurer’s failure to fulfil his in relation to record keeping, as outlined in Division 4 of the Act.

    However, if you are alleging fraudulent activity, that is a police and not a strata matter, but you might gain valuable information by going through this process.

     

    #37502
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    JT’s please explain on the agenda will either result in an adequate explanation or provide clearer grounds for a Fair Trading application. I would go with that suggestion first.

    #37498
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    I want to take the matter to Fair Trading where step #1 is MEDIATION.

    Does anyone know how to frame such an application to Fair Trading? What should I include in the application? My queries? My suspicions? My desired results?

    Any advice would be welcome.

    #37497
    AvatarTrulEConcerned
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Sir Humphrey, our OC does not have the books audited because many years ago the then managing agent recommended an auditor and we agreed to an audit.

    The auditor was unhappy with the dog-pile of papers he was given and “qualified” his report, stating he was not shown all the papers he expected to sight and could not attest to the veracity of what passed for the accounts.

    I commented at the next meeting that having a qualified opinion is a poor show on the agent’s and SC’s part and that the OC should have a comprehensive audit, leaving no stone unturned. The managing agent and Tsr poo-poo’ed my idea and the Chair was unwilling or unable to voice an opinion. So nothing was done.

     

    #37495
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    Further to JT’s ‘please explain’ suggestion, give plenty of notice so there can be no excuse. CC the rest of the committee so they know that plenty of notice was given.

    #37493
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Put a “please explain” motion up for the next strata committee meeting.  Keep it simple and to the point – “Could the treasurer and/or strata manager please explain the debits and credits of $10,000 on these dates?”  No accusations or theories.  Just a polite demand for a straight answer

    #37470
    Sir HumphreySir Humphrey
    Strataguru

    I don’t think it was at all clear that two payments of $10K were made. Hence both my comments and JT’s, not just SC’s.

    Does your OC have its books audited? Ours does and the audit report is included with the papers for each AGM.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by .
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