A self-managed owners corporation or body corporate building is usually managed by a few individuals, namely the lot property owners who volunteer to be elected onto a committee to help manage the common property.
Building matters may be left in control of an individual with a self-interested agenda, more conflicts are likely to arise, and, worse still, the building may not be adequately protected against potential risks.
Self-management pitfalls to watch out for:
- Neighbour disputes: A self-managed owners corporation or body corporate may not always be aware of all the legislative requirements when making decisions. This can lead to unfair or unreasonable decisions being made which can disadvantage some lot owners compared with others, creating ill-will and disputes that can be hard to mediate.
- Lack of advice: If the committee don’t have ready access to professional owners corporation or body corporate guidance, complex paperwork and records can soon get out of hand.
- Increased risks A self-managed owners corporation or body corporate can result in questionable decisions around things like levy increases, or which contractors to choose for maintenance work, or even who gets to keep what kind of pet. While this may seem insignificant in the short term, the long-term effects could be more harmful. For example, if you keep fees deliberately low, you could find the capital works fund isn’t sufficient to cover the things that need to be done to keep the building safe.
- Poor succession planning: If a lot owner was in charge of record-keeping, then sells their lot and moves away, the owners corporation or body corporate will need to find another volunteer for that job. Such volunteers may be hard of find and, even if someone does put their hand up, it will take them time to get up to speed.
Why you should engage a professional owners corporation or body corporate manager
They know where to go for the best service providers and assist with meetings. If a dispute arises, professional owners corporation or body corporate managers are best-placed to mediate and, if your dispute is with the manager themselves, there are plenty of options available to you, from mediation to replacement to complaining to the professional body in your state.