Complaints to the owners’ corporation must be in writing, in an approved form. The owners’ corporation may decide to take no action, but must provide the person making the complaint with written reasons for this decision.
The Owners’ Corporations Act 2006 sets out a process to help owners’ corporations deal with grievances. This process may involve three steps:
- internal dispute resolution
- dispute resolution through the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)
- applications to VCAT.
The owners’ corporation must have an internal grievance procedure to handle complaints about breaches of the rules and other disputes.
The owners’ corporation may develop its own rules for handling grievances – these must be recorded at Land Use Victoria and must not conflict with any other Acts, regulations, or natural justice.
If an owners’ corporation does not make its own rules, the procedure in the model rules outlined in the Owners’ Corporations Regulations 2018 (Schedule 2) applies.
Resolving Owners’ Corporation Disputes through the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV)
If the problem or complaint cannot be resolved through the owners’ corporation’s internal dispute resolution process, then lot owners can seek advice on dispute resolution assistance from DSCV.
It is not compulsory to seek DSCV’s assistance before applying to VCAT. However, DSCV may be able to resolve the issue more quickly and at a lower cost.
DSCV can only try to resolve a dispute if all parties agree to take part in this process.
Applications to VCAT
VCAT may hear and determine a dispute or other matter arising under this Act or the regulations or the rules of an owners’ corporation that affects an owners’ corporation ( an owners’ corporation dispute ) including a dispute or matter relating to—
(a) the operation of an owners’ corporation; or
(b) an alleged breach by a lot owner or an occupier of a lot of an obligation imposed on that person by this Act or the regulations or the rules of the owners’ corporation; or
(c) the exercise of a function by a manager in respect of the owners’ corporation.
Any of the following persons may apply to VCAT to resolve an owners’ corporation dispute—
(a) a manager or former manager;
(b) a lot owner or former lot owner;
(c) the owners’ corporation;
(d) an occupier or former occupier of a lot;
(e) a mortgagee of a lot;
(f) an insurer under a policy taken out by the owners’ corporation;
(g) the Director.
VCAT can impose penalties for breaches of rules and make a wide range of other orders.
For further information or enquiry on the above, please contact us