Hello, my name is Elisha Hodgson and I’m a Solicitor at OMB Solicitors.
Today I’m going to be talking to you about three things bodies corporate should know, particularly in light of the current pandemic COVID-19.
As we are aware, the body corporate is placed in a difficult position day in day out, making decisions which are both reasonable, having regard to current circumstances of owners and occupiers, as well as meeting the needs of the statutory obligations of the body corporate, including repair and maintenance.
So today I’m going to be discussing three matters in relation to your bodies corporate that you need to know, the first one being levy recovery given the current pandemic. There is no doubt that the Body Corporate’s obligation, including its statutory obligations for repair and maintenance, is ongoing and likewise the obligation of an owner to pay contributions as and when they forge you is still alive and well.
Now, what happens when an owner is unable to pay? The committee may be faced with increased hardship applications or with owners that are currently experiencing financial distress. It is important for committees to consider that each owner has different circumstances and should be considered on a case by case basis. Factors which will need to be considered if a payment plan or hardship request is received is how many lots are in the scheme, what are the financial resources or future predicted expenditure, what is the current situation of that particular owner and what is actually being proposed in terms of a payment plan?
Now it is completely unreasonable for an owner to expect the committee to simply place a hold on recovery of all outstanding contributions as the contributions are the lifeblood of the body corporate and when contributions go unpaid, it places an unfair financial burden on all the other owners in terms of picking up that shortfall. Accordingly, bodies corporate need to take into consideration the individual circumstances and also weigh that with the financial obligations of the body corporate moving forward.
Here at OMB, we take a proactive approach in assessing the matter as it comes into our firm to identify how we can appropriately resolve this, having regard to the circumstances of the body corporate as well as the financial struggles that may be experienced by the individual owner. It is important to ensure that matters are resolved swiftly and ensure that those contributions are received in order for the body corporate to continue with its statutory obligations.
Now that moves into my second point being the statutory obligations of the body corporate lawyers Gold Coast in terms of repair and maintenance. As you’re aware, each year the body corporate resolves budgets and anticipates future expenditure, particularly in relation to those repair and maintenance. Now, this is a perfect opportunity for bodies corporate to reconsider the repair and maintenance within their scheme, assets such as the common property, swimming pool, the foyer or the barbecue areas are currently not being utilised by lot owners and occupiers. So when whilst all the owners and occupiers are in isolation and not using these facilities, this is the time where the committee should be considering maybe bringing forward those repair and maintenance to the swimming pool or the foyer upgrade.
Now the third thing I’d like to raise is simply just a message from OMB Solicitors in terms of staying well and continuing to practice your good hygiene measures. We are in a very uncertain time and we look forward to continuing to advise our committees, our body corporate managers and our bodies corporate in relation to how to deal with these impacts currently being felt in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you have any questions or require some assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’d be more than happy to assist. Thank you.