New owners corporation (formerly body corporate) dispute resolution procedures are leaving owners out of pocket when seeking to recover outstanding debts from other lot owners, according to MICM Property’s owners corporation manager, Dorothy LeClaire.
Under ‘Section 163’ of the Owners Corporation Act 2006, which commenced operation in December 2007, lot owners, occupiers and owners corporation managers can have disputes heard by VCAT. Under the previous Subdivision Act, disputes went before the courts incurring significant legal costs. While VCAT’s jurisdiction over alleged breaches of the act reduces total expenses, parties are expected to pay their own legal costs. Ms LeClaire said “by not awarding costs against defaulting owners, owners corporations have to bear the full cost of debt recovery, effectively penalising owners that pay their fees on time.”
MICM Property is supporting Owners Corporation Victoria (OCV) in the process of lobbying Government to introduce a fairer dispute resolution system.