In a recent Body Corporate Dispute owners were never provided with copies of the Application. Consequently, orders were made without a single submission from any owner.
The Applicant in Body Corporate Dispute Number 0394-2013 (yet to be published), contacted me to express her concern.
The fact that there were no responses or submissions should have at least raised questions about whether owners had actually seen the Application.
In fact, the Applicant phoned the Commissioner’s Office to alert them of the problem.
The Applicant told me “When I contacted the Commissioner’s Office to let them know that owners had not received copies of the dispute, they said that they take the word of the person they sent them to. If he says he has sent them then that is good enough.”
The Applicant went on to say “The Commissioner’s Office said that I should provide stat decs to prove that owners did not receive the dispute. I did not feel that it was my responsibility to do the work of the Commissioner so left it up to them to decide whether to pursue the matter or not.”
The Adjudicator ruled on the Application in due course. “The orders were basically what I had sought but I did think it was strange that an Application like this could be lodged and ruled upon without owners knowing about it. I’m sure that they would have made submissions had they known.”
When the orders were made, it was the Applicant who actually distributed copies to owners.
This does raise some questions about the procedures of the Commissioner. Not all Bodies Corporate employ a Body Corporate Manager. I don’t think it is good enough that they send a hard copy to someone who they think might be responsible and then expect that person to distribute copies to owners.
When the Applicant in this Body Corporate Dispute took the trouble to phone the Commissioners office to alert them to the problem the Commissioner’s staff should have taken the time to verify the claim rather than expect the Applicant to do the work.
Footnote: The reference to the “Claytons Body Corporate Dispute” comes from a very popular advertising campaign. In the 1970s a company produced a non alcoholic drink that was marketed as a good alternative to drinking alcohol. The brand name was Claytons and the slogan “Claytons – the drink you have when you are not having a drink!” In this case, the Dispute you have when you are not having a Dispute!