As an owners corporation manager, you must comply with the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 and the Owners Corporations Act 2006, as well as meeting your contractual obligations. You must engage in fair trading practices, make full disclosures and not engage in unconscionable, misleading or deceptive conduct.
Australian Consumer Law
The Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 sets out standards of conduct that:
- protect consumers
- prohibit unconscionable, misleading and deceptive conduct
- provide for statutory conditions and warranties in consumer contracts, and
- void unfair terms in consumer contracts.
Under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012, suppliers, including managers, must not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct that may be harmful to owners corporations or their members.
Potential areas of misleading or deceptive conduct include statements made about:
- fees or prices for services
- services provided within the quoted fee, and/or
- qualifications or experience of the manager.
Owners Corporations Act
The Owners Corporations Act 2006 also sets out standards of conduct for managers, which are:
- to act honestly and in good faith
- to exercise due care and diligence
- not to make improper use of your position to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage personally or for any other person.
As an owners corporations manager, you must:
- be honest and make full disclosure to the owners corporation or committee of issues and potential conflicts
- know your legal obligations and those of the owners corporation
- promptly inform the owners corporation about issues so members can make decisions and act on them
- assist the owners corporation to comply with its legal obligations
- get professional advice or more information when in doubt, and
- act in the interests of the owners corporation, committee and the lot owners.
To meet these standards of conduct and to improve disclosure and reporting at the annual general meeting, you should record and report on:
- the number of owners corporations certificates issued and fees charged
- the number of telephone calls and the amount of correspondence from lot owners and occupiers raising issues that may lead to complaints
- how many people request access to records of the owners corporation, and
- any amount of commission or rewards you receive from suppliers for services to the owners corporation (including the amount of insurance commission).
You are encouraged to contact your professional association for information on codes of practice, contracts, management services, training, reporting, standard documentation and dispute resolution processes.