By Phillip Leaman

11 March 2022

The Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Act 2021 has now passed Victorian Parliament and took effect on 1 December 2021. 

Expert Owners Corporations lawyers, Tisher Liner FC Law, explained the changes to the Owners Corporations Act 2006 in a series of blogs.

 

Our first blog summering the changes to the Owners Corporations Act 2006 which commenced on 1 December 2021 as a result of the passing of The Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Act 2021. It is available at on our website.

 

Topics covered in our blogs:

 

Owners Corporations have the responsibility under Section 46 of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 to repair and maintain common property and chattels, fixtures, fittings and services related to the common property or its enjoyment. Watch our podcast on Water Act claims and Owners Corporation for a summary and some tips for committees and managers or continue to read our blog on Common property defects and water issues.

 

Read the changes from 1 December 2021 regarding, Owners Corporation entitlement to issue legal proceedings. It should be noted that the amendments allowing for a lot owner to issue proceedings set out also allow a lot owner to make an application to defend or discontinue any proceedings already on foot.

 

The amendments provide a comprehensive process and procedure to deal with private lot chattels which are on common property from 1 December 2021. This is great news for Owners Corporations, their committees and managers.  Whilst, there is a defined process, it is important that Owners Corporations receive legal advice prior to disposing of any goods with any value. Whilst Owners Corporations will not be liable for disposing of goods, this protection from claims only arises where the Owners Corporation has followed the process correctly. Read more about goods abandoned on Common Property.

 

There is case law setting out how the benefit principle is to be applied and in particular, the Grundl Assessment must be applied. In some cases, legal advice is required to ensure the Owners Corporation is correctly applying the assessment. Read more about the Grundl Assessment on our website.

 

Owners Corporations may either use the Model Rules or make their own rules. It is important for Owners Corporations to enforce the rules so that all lot owners can equally enjoy their lots and common property. Visit our website to learn more about the changes to OC Rules.

 

Most managers won’t have any problems with complying with the new amendments as they probably already comply. What it does do is make things more transparent for Owners Corporations and adequately and fully disclose commercial relationships. If you need assistance understand your responsibility as a manager or managers appointment, contact a member of our team and read more about this topic on our website.

 

Owners Corporations, committees and managers need to be careful when counting votes and ensure that misuse/abuse of the new provisions is monitored. The changes to quorums will assist Owners Corporations making decisions when the majority of lot owners do not take an active interest or participation in the running of their Owners Corporation. Continue reading about the changes for voting and quorums.

 

The changes that commence at the end of the year aim at providing clearer disclosure to Owners Corporations of commission. Read more about Public liability insurance, Insurance for lots in multi-level developments, Insurance for multiple single dwellings on a plan of subdivision, Valuation of buildings and Managers and Commission on Insurance on our website.

 

Lot owners need to be careful that they only undertake works to common property that are approved in writing by the Owners Corporation and that the issue of who is paying for the works is specified. It should be noted that an Owners Corporation must obtain a special resolution if the Owners Corporation (or someone as agent for the Owners Corporation) is undertaking a significant alternation to the common property under Section 52 of the Act. Find our more about common property and repairs.

 

Detail on how a claim can be made, whether a claim is likely to be successful and some frequently asked questions on adverse possession check out our comprehensive adverse possession page. Our website also has a free interactive adverse possession enquiry chatbot. The chatbot allows someone to answer a series of questions to give you an idea whether or not a claim is likely to be successful. The chatbot is free and available 24/7. More details on the changes are available on our Adverse possession and owners corporations blog online.

 

Easements can be tricky for landowners let alone for Owners Corporations. There are a number of easements that can affect an Owners Corporation. Read our blog on the changes to Easement on our website. Also see how implied easements have been interpreted by VCAT in respect to air conditioners read our blog online.

 

If you want to learn more about the Owners Corporations Act Amendments that came into effect on 1 December 2021, watch the recording of our zoom lunchtime briefing or contact Phillip Leaman on 03 8600 9314 or by email pleaman@tlfc.com.au.

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