Books and records your owners corporation must keep
An owners corporation is required by law to keep numerous books and records relating to the property. Strict record keeping obligations ensure that no vital information pivotal to safety or an owner’s rights are lost.
As there are various record keeping requirements which can be time consuming to collect, file and issue, this function of the owners corporation is generally delegated to an owners corporation manager as they have the systems and processes in place to keep track of records to ensure nothing goes astray.
Records remain the property of the owners corporation so if there is a decision to change managers, the outgoing manager must hand over all owners corporation records to the new manager within 28 days from the date of termination.
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ial owner records
When a property is first built documents relating to the build and legal structure of the property such as the plans, subdivisions, easements, licenses, building contracts, warranty details, lot entitlements, and the rules of the property must be collated by the property developer (known as the initial owner) and handed over to the owners corporation when the property is registered and the owners corporation entity is created.
Generally, the owners corporation manager that has been appointed to the property will manage the document handover, keep a checklist of what has been received, and will chase the property developer for any missing documentation.
Owners corporation books and records
Once an owners corporation is registered, there is a variety of documents that need to be kept according to owners corporation legislation and federal taxation laws. Each type of document needs to be kept for differing periods.
The 18 owners corporation document types that must be kept are:
- The full name and address of each owner
- A consolidated copy of the rules
- Minutes of meetings
- Copies of resolutions
- Records of the results of ballots
- Voting papers or ballots
- Accounting records
- Records of assets and liabilities
- Financial statements of income and expenditure
- Income tax returns and GST records
- Insurance policies
- Any maintenance plans
- Any notices and orders served on the owners corporation by a court or tribunal
- Any notices served by the owners corporation
- Any contracts and agreements entered into by the owners corporation
- Any leases and licences entered into by the owners corporation.
Records are usually stored with the owners corporation manager and if an owners corporation decides to change managers, the manager must provide a copy of these records to the incoming manager.Did you know
Owners corporation register
An owners corporation register is a summary of activities, undertakings, and membership. All owners corporations, except those with only two lots, must establish and maintain an owners corporation register.
A register outlines important information such as the name, registration number and contact details of the manager, lot entitlements, any amendments made to the owners corporation rules, details of contracts, insurance policies and licenses entered into.
This document is updated and kept by the owners corporation manager. The register must be made available for inspection upon request to an owner, mortgagee of a lot, buyer a lot, or their representative.
An owners corporation cannot charge people to inspect the records and the register document, but they can charge a reasonable fee for copies of the records which are prescribed by the Victorian Government. The fees should cover costs, for example, the fee the owners corporation manager charges for supervising the inspection of the register and records.
Owners corporation certificates allow a prospective purchaser to investigate the cost of living, the lot boundaries, whether the rules work with their desired lifestyle i.e. any restrictions on pets etc. whether the lot entitlement/liability is fair and reasonable if the community is at peace with one another or have there been issues, whether the owners corporation is on top of their duties i.e. do they have any outstanding orders against them? And whether they have sufficient funds to cover future works or upgrades.
The information included in an owners corporation certificate are:
- Fees for the lot
- Any unpaid fees or charges for the lot
- Any special levies
- Details of repairs and maintenance work that may incur extra charges to those budgeted
- Details of insurance cover
- Total funds and any liabilities held by the owners corporation
- Details of contracts
- Leases or licenses affecting common property
- Details of any agreements to provide services to lot owners
- Outstanding notices or orders served on the owners corporation in the past 12 months
- Legal proceedings
- The manager and whether an administrator has been proposed or appointed for the owners corporation.
The following 4 documents must be attached to the owners corporation certificate:
- The registered owners corporation rules
- The statement of advice and information for prospective owners corporation purchasers and lot owners
- All resolutions made at the last annual general meeting
- A statement that more information about prescribed matters is available by inspecting the owners corporation register.
The owners corporation should keep a copy of all certificates it has issued.
Other information to be aware of when it comes to keeping books and records from your owners corporation are:
Affixing the owners corporation seal
An owners corporation seal is a stamp which acts as a legal signature for an owners corporation property. A certificate must have an owners corporation seal affixed by either the manager, the chairperson, or two other members of the owners corporation and it must be witnessed.
Storage period – how long must records be kept for?
Some documents must be kept for the entire life of a building such as the plan of subdivision, building plans and specifications, section 173 agreements, minutes of AGMs, building permits, planning permits, builder’s insurance certificates and occupancy permits. An owners corporation must keep voting papers and ballots and proxies for at least 12 months after a vote is taken. All other documents must be kept for at least seven years.
Protecting the privacy of owners
An owners corporation may only collect and use personal information in a fair and lawful way. The owners corporation must ensure they receive a written request from all people seeking to inspect the owners corporation. This identifies the person making the request. A person whose details are kept in the owners corporation’s records or register may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to restrict access to that information. The tribunal will only restrict access in exceptional circumstances and only for a limited time.If you’d like to find out more, download our FREE Community Living guide on committee management & meeting management. Or ask a question at StrataFAQ.com.au.