Working with your owners corporation manager

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Types of managers – volunteer and paid professional

Your owners corporation (formerly body corporate) can appoint a manager to help handle day-to-day affairs.

There are two types of manager:

  • a volunteer manager, who does not have to be registered or insured
  • a paid professional, who must be registered and have professional indemnity insurance. This includes a person or company who is rewarded for managing an owners corporation by incentives such as free accommodation, lower fees or discounted use of facilities.

Volunteer and paid registered managers have the same legal obligations.

An owners corporation:

  • does not abdicate responsibility when it appoints a manager. It is legally responsible for actions taken by a paid or volunteer manager on its behalf.
  • may appoint a manager to carry out any powers or functions it is able to delegate at a general meeting. This appointment must be in writing or through a contract of appointment in the approved form
  • usually delegates powers to a manager in a contract or an instrument of delegation, but some owners corporations may be self-managed by a committee or a lot owner who has been delegated powers on a voluntary basis.

Registered managers – public register

A person or company paid or rewarded for managing an owners corporation must be registered with the Business Licensing Authority and insured. If you are appointing a professional manager, you can only deal with a registered manager.

You can check a manager’s registration on the Business Licensing Authority’s public register of owners corporation managers. This register includes details of any orders made against a manager.

Most professional managers are members of a professional body and may use industry-endorsed documents to ensure they are properly appointed and have appropriate powers. These documents may include an approved ‘Contract of appointment’.

A manager’s contract of appointment is a contract between the owners corporation as a legal entity and the manager or their company. This means:

  • it is the owners corporation that is subject to the contract, not individual lot owners
  • individual lots owners are bound by the contract as members of the owners corporation.

All registered managers must:

  • be appointed by an instrument or contract of appointment in the approved form
  • act honestly and in good faith. They must not improperly use their positions to gain an advantage for themselves or any other person
  • carry professional indemnity insurance for the prescribed amount
  • hold all money on behalf of an owners corporation on trust
  • account separately for money held for each owners corporation it manages
  • report to the owners corporation at each annual general meeting
  • if there is a committee, report to the committee as required
  • lodge an annual statement with the Business Licensing Authority.

If you want to register as a manager, view our Owners corporation managers section.

Manager’s role

The manager coordinates the owners corporation’s daily affairs, including collecting and banking fees, arranging property maintenance and, in certain circumstances, organising meetings.

A manager can usually:

  • prepare and distribute notices, agendas and minutes
  • attend to correspondence
  • arrange quotations for repairs and maintenance
  • take out and maintain required insurance
  • pay all invoices
  • prepare and distribute financial statements and budgets
  • provide owners corporation certificates
  • keep and maintain the owners corporation register
  • keep and maintain records
  • arrange audits and reports required by law
  • prepare and implement a grievance procedure, and
  • ensure compliance with the Owners Corporations Act 2006, the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 and rules.

An owners corporation manager’s legal powers and functions depend on whether the owners corporation has a committee.

If there is no owners corporation committee

If there is no committee, then the manager’s role is:

  • delegated by the owners corporation at a general meeting
  • to carry out his or her duties, powers and functions
  • to report to the owners corporation.

If your owners corporation has a committee

If your owners corporation has a committee, the manager’s role is:

  • set out in the rules of the owners corporation
  • determined or delegated by the owners corporation at a general meeting
  • determined or delegated by the committee
  • to report to the committee as required
  • to report to the annual general meeting.

Delegating powers to a manager

Your owners corporation must delegate duties, powers and functions to a manager in an approved form or instrument of delegation. This enables the manager to act on behalf of the owners corporation.

The owners corporation cannot delegate:

  • functions or powers requiring a special or unanimous resolution
  • matters requiring decision of the owners at a general meeting.

Anybody can be a volunteer manager. If the volunteer manager is also a member of the owners corporation, they are not personally liable for anything they do in good faith as a volunteer manager under the Owners Corporation Act.

A manager may delegate some or all duties, powers and functions to an employee.

Your owners corporation should consider the powers delegated to the manager at each annual general meeting.

Download the Instrument of delegation - owners corporations (Word, 64KB).

Appointing a manager

Selecting a manager

Consider the following questions when selecting a manager:

  • what does the owners corporation expect or require in management services?
  • what are the services to be provided in the management fee?
  • what services are provided out of hours and on weekends?
  • what experience the person has in management ?
  • what are the manager’s skills and qualifications and knowledge?
  • is the manager a member of a professional organisation?
  • is the manager committed to ongoing professional development?
  • when will the manager be available (for example, what days or hours)?
  • how often will the manager be onsite?

Before appointing a manager, check their registration details in our Public register of owners corporation managers section. This includes details of any orders made against a manager.

Appointing your owners corporation manager

The appointment requires an ordinary resolution at a meeting or by ballot.

The owners corporation can delegate its decision to appoint a manager to the committee, a sub-committee or to a lot owner, but it is preferable to appoint a manager at a general meeting to enable powers and functions to be appropriately delegated.

The appointment of the manager at a general meeting will also enable the lot owners to meet the manager, ask any questions and affix the common seal to all the relevant documents confirming the appointment.

Download the Contract of appointment - owners corporation manager (Word, 114KB).

Removing a manager

To remove an owners corporation manager (regardless of whether their contract has expired or not), the owners corporation should:

  • conduct a vote at a general meeting or hold a postal ballot to remove a manager
  • follow the process for the removal or termination of the manager outlined in the contract of appointment.

Alternatively, your owners corporation may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order terminating the manager’s contract.

Once a manager’s appointment is terminated, the manager has 28 days to return all funds and records to the owners corporation.

Complaints about your manager

Discuss any concerns with your manager in the first instance. Many complaints or disputes start as misunderstandings and your manager may not be aware of the issue.

If this fails, you can:

  • contact the committee or chairperson and clarify the manager’s duties and responsibilities in the contract of appointment. The contract may also set out a process for complaints with the manager
  • make a written complaint to the owners corporation or committee. Your owners corporation is required to have a process for dealing with grievances
  • make a written complaint to Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • apply for an order at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
  • if your manager is a member of a professional body, make a complaint about any breach of its code of conduct. The complaint may need to be lodged by the owners corporation rather than an individual.