Communication is often the best way to resolve disputes. Owners corporations must have a policy about day-to-day communication between lot owners and the owners corporation.
The policy should be part of the rules and include:
- how and when to contact the chairperson, secretary or manager
- what to do if there is an emergency.
This policy should be given to all new lot owners and tenants and be displayed on a notice board.
All owners corporations must keep a letterbox or a sign displaying their current contact details.
Download our sample policy: Communicating with your owners corporation (Word, 56KB).
Internal grievance procedure
An owners corporation must have a procedure to help its members and people living in the property deal with grievances without resorting to legal action.
It should set out:
- information about who to contact if there is an issue or concern
- rules detailing the grievance procedure
- directions about where to get information
- how to record the issue or the breach of rules
- how to notify the owners corporation committee or manager of a problem
- how to raise an issue at an owners corporation or committee meeting
- formal complaint procedures
- how to nominate a third party to help resolve a dispute.
The owners corporation must follow its internal procedure before asking the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) to resolve the dispute or applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Rules for grievance procedures
An owners corporation can either:
If an owners corporation makes its own rules for grievances, those rules must be recorded at Land Use Victoria to be enforceable. The proposed grievance procedure rules must not conflict with the Act, the Regulations, or natural justice. For example, an owners corporation may make a rule that states: “If you wish to raise an issue, you can make a written request for a meeting of the owners corporation or its committee”. This meeting would give people affected an opportunity to comment and the owners corporation or its committee may be able to make a resolution on the matter.
For more information about making rules, view our How to make owners corporation rules page.
The owners corporation will ask for a written record of facts when it receives a formal complaint. Use the Issue log sheet - owners corporation (Word, 60KB).
A written record is also required if the complaint goes to DSCV or VCAT.
Any complaints and any action taken must be reported to the owners corporation’s annual general meeting. Use the:
Records of the complaint must be kept for seven years.
Making a formal complaint
A formal complaint about a lot owner, an occupier or an owners corporation manager allegedly breaching the Owners Corporations Act 2006, Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 or the rules, must be in writing to the owners corporation in an approved Owners corporation complaint (Word, 59KB).
If the owners corporation decides to take no action, it must give reasons in writing to the person who made the complaint.
If the owners corporation does take action, it must:
- give notice to the person who is the subject of the complaint
- also give a copy of the notice to the lot owner, if the lot owner is not the subject of the complaint.
The notice must be in writing in the approved Notice to rectify breach - owners corporations (Word, 67KB). The breach must be rectified within 28 days of the date of the notice.
If the problem is not resolved
If the problem is not resolved within 28 days, the owners corporation can extend the deadline for action.
The owners corporation can also issue a final notice, in writing in the approved Final notice to rectify breach - owners corporations (Word, 59KB).
The final notice should state that:
- the individual has 28 days from the date of the notice to comply
- if the breach is not rectified within 28 days, the owners corporation may take the matter to VCAT.
The owners corporation must first try to resolve the matter through an internal grievance procedure before applying to VCAT.