This article about freezing levy payments in protest of bad service has been supplied by Frank Higginson, Hynes Legal.
Question: Can a group of lot owners freeze levy payments by paying their levies into a trust account until they receive better service from the resident manager and strata manager?
A number of Lot owners within a Body Corporate Scheme are unhappy with the services provided (or lack thereof) by the Resident Manager and the Strata Company. The Committee isn’t instructing the Resident Manager to fix a number of issues raised by concerned Lot owners. Can the Lot owners affected put their Body Corporate Levies into a trust account type situation in protest until these issues are fixed and or performance is rectified?
In this situation, the Resident Manager (although not supposed to according to the Code of Conduct) hand picked a new Committee. The new Committee and the Strata Company are now basically being run by the Resident Manager, instead of the other way around. Therefore this has created continual conflict between a number of Lot owners, the current committee and the Resident Manager. Anything asked of the Committee or the Resident Manager by certain Lot owners just falls on deaf ears.
Lot owners do not want to go down the expensive track of climbing Mount Everest just to fail.
A number of people have suggested freezing their levy payments in protest by paying into a Trust Account. Depending on who you talk to you, some say it can be done and others say it can’t.
Answer: You definitely can’t pay into a trust account.
You definitely can’t pay into a trust account. The Act is very clear – levies have to be paid as issued to the body corporate.
And with respect to the selection of the committee, the resident manager has not picked them. The owners have. The people on the outside at the moment are entitled to stand for committee as much as anyone. If they do not get voted in then the owners as a group have spoken – be they guided by the resident manager or otherwise.
The committee are required to act reasonably but they aren’t required to action every request or do what people not in committee ask them to.
Have a question about management rights or freezing levy payments in QLD or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
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This post appears in Strata News #307.