Body corporate matters
Question from Lin updated on 16th April 2013:
I have an apartment in a building managed by a body corporate. At the usual annual meeting only 25% of the landlords vote and the annual accounts are approved in a second session having the body corporate manager collecting proxies and practically approving his own activity and accounts. Is this situation legal? It looks like the body corporate manager looks after just the few landlords acting as the body corporate committee. Is there any responsibility over the body corporate to require for example an annual quote to see if the body corporate manager is really offering a good deal to the building? Is there any association protecting the landlord against the abuse of body corporate and its manager?
Our expert Ollie Mitch responded:
Conflict matters such as the one you have raised are prevalent amongst unit owners and body corporates. It is up to the owners when they appoint their executive committee (EC) members (also known as owners committee) to vote for those members whom they consider to be trustworthy, accountable and transparent. Owners with issues surrounding particular EC members need to discuss those issues with other members, and/or lobby for votes to remove that secretary from the committee or not vote for that particular person at the AGM when the EC members are next appointed, should they consider that that person is no longer fulfilling their duties with integrity and in the interests of the owners. Ultimately, if there are serious issues where the secretary is not appropriately carrying out his or her duties or acting in the best interests of the body corporate, an owner may file an application in the tenancy tribunal to have that secretary removed. In regards to proxy votes in favour of a body corporate secretary or committee member there have been a few high court cases that set a precedent, in these cases the judge ruled to void the proxy votes held by the body corporate secretary who voted for themselves retaining the management. If you would like details please feel free to contact me directly.Ollie Mitch is head of sales at Iconicity, leading apartment investment specialists and the largest private buyer and seller of apartments in Auckland City. Phone 09 300 5073, email email@example.com or visit www.iconicity.co.nz