ACT OCN - Unit Titles Law - What's New, What's Next, What Now?


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Presentation to OCN ACT Saturday 14 April 2012

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ACT OCN - Unit Titles Law - What's New, What's Next, What Now?

  1. 1. Unit  Titles  Law  –  What’s  New,  What’s  Next,  What  Now?   About the presenter - Michael Teys is the Founder and Principal Lawyer of TEYS Lawyers. He has a Bachelor of Laws and practices exclusively in the area of strata title law. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Community Association Lawyers. He was formerly an Adjunct Lecturer with Charles Sturt University. He appears weekly on SKY News Business Channels Property Success with Margaret Lomas and is a regular panellist for the property edition of Your Money, Your Call for the same channel. You can read Michael’s blog at and follow him on Twitter at @MichaelTeys.comTeys Lawyers practice nationally in strata title law representing owners corporations, bodiescorporate and apartment owners. The firm’s practice groups include building defects, stratacommunity disputes, strata titles property law, by-laws and levy collection.Subscribe for their free e-newsletter StrataSpace and find out more about them ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  2. 2. Unit  Titles  Law  ACT  –  What’s  New,  What’s  Next,  What  Now?      PresentaEon  April  2012  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  3. 3. What’s  New?  More  Personal  Responsibility   Privacy   Conduct   Health  &  Safety  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  4. 4. Privacy  Laws  Apply  to  Records   Corporate  register   contains  personal   LimitaEons  on  EC  members  have   informaEon  and   human  rights  to   responsibility  for   must  be  separately   privacy  are  privacy  compliance   displayed,  printed  or   proporEonate   emailed  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  5. 5. Personal  InformaEon  Held  by  OC’s  and   Managers     Owners  credit   Names   Tenancy  details     card  details     Property   Bank  account   Addresses     descripEons  and   details  for   valuaEons   suppliers   SomeEmes  proof   Telephone   Email  addresses   of  personal   numbers   idenEficaEon    ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  6. 6. What  Do  Strata  Managers  Do  With   This  InformaEon?  What?     Allowed  or  not?    Give  it  to  strata  inspectors     Required  by  strata  management  laws    Give  it  to  the  execuEve  commiXee     Probably  not  allowed  under  NaEonal     Privacy  Principles      Give  it  to  web  hosEng  companies     Probably  not  allowed  under  NaEonal   Privacy  Principles    Give  it  to  strata  management  soYware     Probably  not  allowed  under  NaEonal  providers   Privacy  Principles  Give  it  to  associated  suppliers  for  cross   Probably  not  allowed  under  NaEonal  markeEng  (e.g.  banks  )     Privacy    Principles      Throw  it  in  the  rubbish  (paper  and   Not  allowed  under  NaEonal    Privacy  redundant  IT)     Principles     ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  7. 7. What  Should  Owners  Do  to  Manage   Privacy?  •  Limit  informaEon   Protect     •  Audit  privacy   collected  to  that   policies   which  is  absolutely   •  Secure  info   electronically  and   •  Audit  strata   necessary     managers  document   give  traceable   access  only   security  processes     •  Use  privacy  policies     Limit     Check     ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  8. 8. A  New  EC  Code  of  Conduct   1.  Understanding  of  Act   2.  Honesty  and  fairness   3.  Care  and  diligence   4.  Best  interest   5.  Compliance   6.  Nuisance   7.  Unconscionable   conduct   8.  Conflict  of  interest  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  9. 9. What  Is  Reasonable  Care  &  Diligence?   For  example:  diligence  /  noun  constant  and  earnest  effort  to  accomplish   •  Checking  references  and  what  is  undertaken;  persistent   insurance  policy  of  a  new   strata  manager  exerEon  of  body  or  mind   •  Considering  external  advice  Macquarie  DicEonary  4th  EdiEon   and  only  acEng  otherwise  in   special  circumstances   •  Finding  out  about   responsibiliEes  and  Eme   limitaEons  in  building  defect   maXers   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  10. 10. The  New  WHS  Approach     PCBU   ‘Work’  is  the   PosiEve  duty   Significantly   concurrent   key  concept   for  officers  to   increased   duEes  of  care,   not   exercise  due   personal   consultaEon  &   ‘Workplace’   diligence   liability   co-­‐operaEon  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  11. 11. Work  Health  Safety  Stakes  Are  Higher   •  Recklessness  /  risk   –  OC  /  BC  $3million   –  CommiXee  $600,000  /  5  years   jail   –  SM  $300,000  /  5  years  jail   •  Breach  /  risk   –  OC  /  BC  $1.5  million   –  CommiXee    $300,000   –  SM  $150,000   •  Breach   –  OC  /  BC  $500,000   –  CommiXee  $100,000   –  SM  $50,000  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  12. 12. But  the  Defence  for  Personal  Liability  is   Clearer  1.  Keep  up  to  date  2.  Understand  operaEons  3.  Eliminate  or  minimise  risks  4.  Process  informaEon  5.  Supply  resources  and   processes    6.  Verify  provision  and  use  of   resources  and  processes  (Due  diligence  defence  S.27(5)  WHS  2011)   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  13. 13. Persons  Who  Are  Not  A  PCBU     A  strata  body  that  is   responsible  for  any  common   areas  used  only  for  residenEal   purposes  is  not  a  PCBU  so  long   as  no  worker  is  engaged  as  an   employee  (s.7  WHS  Act  2011)  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  14. 14. Not  Only  For  ResidenEal  Purposes  •  OC  /  BC  employees  •  Common  property  with   commercial  lots  •  On-­‐site  lepng  agent  •  Lots  used  as  home  businesses  •  Nannies  employed  in  lots  •  Lots  for  short  term   accommodaEon  •  CommunicaEon  towers  /   satellite  dish  /  adverEsing   signs   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  15. 15. The  Basic  WHS  Duty  of  Care   “To  ensure,  so  far  as  is   reasonably  pracEcable,   the  health  and  safety  of   workers  and  other   persons”     Hargreaves  v  Telstra  Corp   Ltd  [2011]  AATA  417  (17   June  2011)  is  the  high  water   mark  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  16. 16. The  Latest  From  the  High  Court  on   Safe  Systems  •  Amputee  slipped  on  chip  •  “Reasonable  care   requires  the  inspecEon   and  removal  of  slipping   hazards  at  intervals  not   greater  than  20  minutes”  •  Damages  awarded   $580,299.12  +  costs  Strong  v  Woolworths  [2012]  HCA  5,  7  March  2012       ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  17. 17. A  Strata  Body’s  General  DuEes  About  Asbestos   •  To  ensure  that   exposure  to  airborne   asbestos  is  eliminated   or  minimised  so  far  as   reasonably  pracEcal   •  To  ensure  that   exposure  standards  for   asbestos  are  not   exceeded     s.420  WHS  RegulaEons   2011   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  18. 18. Your  Insurance  Does  Not  Cover  This  Risk   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  19. 19. Strata  Bodies  Have  Unlimited  Liability    •  An  uninsured  owners   corporaEon  or  body   corporate  must  sEll  pay  a   damages  award  •  Unlike  shareholders  and   club  members,  lot  owners   do  not  have  limited  liability  •  An  administrator  will  be   appointed  to  strike  a  levy  to   cover  damages  and  costs   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  20. 20. What’s  Next?   •  Increased  focus  on  sinking   funds  (ACT  Greens)   •  Forcing  faster  unit  owner   acEon  on  building  defects    (NSW  lead)   •  Building  quality  reforms   (ACT  Building  Act  review)  ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers          
  21. 21. 5  Things  Owners  Should  Do  Now  1.  Adopt  a  privacy  policy  2.  Demonstrate  reasonable   care  and  diligence  3.  Commission  health  and   safety  audit  4.  AXend  to  asbestos    5.  Develop  governance   principles   ©  Copyright  2012  Teys  Lawyers