Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Ways for Body Corporate Managers to make money

Body Corporate Managers are always looking for new ways to make money. In recent years many have started offering additional services to clients but there is growing concern that the promotion of some of these services may constitute a conflict of interest.

In an ideal world, Bodies Corporate should take steps to ensure that they are compliant with all legislation and general rules and regulations. Some Body Corporate Managers have seized the opportunity to exploit this and make money.

The way it works is quite simple. They point out to Committees that  that the Body Corporate needs to get reports on various areas of compliance. They often give veiled threats of potential liability or Committee responsibilities if the reports are not obtained.

They then recommend their own in house services to provide the reports which can include things like:
  • Sinking Fund Forecasts
  • Workplace Health and Safety Reports
  • Fire Risk assessment reports
  • Asbestos reports
  • Insurance assessments
and many more.

They don't stop there. They also provide services to "assist" owners with Dispute resolution, Levy Equalisation claims and one BC Manager even has a separate department that completes insurance claims at an additional cost of course.

There are often times when BC Managers do everything they can to promote these offshoot services in an attempt to generate more income for themselves. However, the problem that I have with all of this is that I don't see them always offering alternatives.

In one case, the Chairman of a Body Corporate was convinced that he needed to get three reports done urgently on Fire Safety, Workplace Health and Safety and an Asbestos assessment. He was pressured into thinking that he might even be liable if the reports were not done.

The Body Corporate Manager then proceeded to convince him that he should use the services of companies that were subsidiaries of the BC Manager. No alternatives were offerred.

When the reports were completed, they highlighted various issues that needed to be addressed and they offerred yet more "in house" services to rectify the faults.

It is inevitable that Body Corporate Managers will be creative in developing other services for their clients but they need to be very careful indeed to offer alternatives rather than try and convince Committees to go with their own offshoot companies.

An example of the potential problems that can occurr was highlighted in the comments of a QCAT adjudication  .....

“The adoption of the practice of body corporate managers purporting to act both as “experts” and “representatives” in the same case is not one which should be encouraged.”
This case referred to a claim to equalise the levies. The Body Corporate Manager offerred the services of one of their own consultants to represent the Body Corporate.

There is nothing wrong with Body Corporate Managers developing their business and providing additional services to their clients providing that they act ethically and offer alternatives to Committees.
The opinions expressed in this article are personal commentaries and not intended in to be legal advice in any way. I have spent many years participating on a number of different Body Corporate Committees and provide an owner’s perspective on Body Corporate issues.
If you have any concerns or comments about any of the issues that are raised in these articles please use the form below to contact me.

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