If a Body Corporate Manager, or caretaking service contractor, is going to receive a commission from the insurer (or a related party) then before the Body Corporate enters into the insurance contract the commission must be disclosed. If you have received a disclosure, take the time to understand what the commission is for; for example is it just a referral fee or are there obligations that come with the commission? Common obligations can include providing assistance to the insurer with claims processing. Only after you have worked out what the commission is for, can you properly understand if there is a potential for a conflict of interest between the obligations which your Body Corporate Manager or caretaking service contractor owes you, and the obligations that they owe the insurer.
Any building contractor will tell you that preventative maintenance is better than the cure. Replacing window seals or silicone is a lot more cost effective than dealing with rotten internal timbers or swollen plaster board. Treat owner’s maintenance complaints as an early warning system. Investigate, consider and act. Delay or denial will cost more in the end.
When owners are being called on to vote on major spending, normally they are supposed to receive at least 2 quotations. Often times those quotations can be quite extensive. For example, 2 building contracts for (say) renovating the swimming pool area, can amount to hundreds of pages. If the quotations are voluminous then instead of providing them with the meeting notice, a summary of the quotations and advice about where complete copies may be inspected can be provided. If you use this exception to save on postage and photocopying costs, make sure that your summary is accurate and that the full copies are readily and freely available to obtain.
The upfront costs of new utility infrastructure, like solar PV or central gas hot water, can be very difficult to get owner approval for. How then can you acquire the equipment, so that you can access the savings? Some utility service retailers offer long term contracts, with the supply of the new equipment thrown in. While you may think that makes the new equipment, or the utility service (gas, electricity etc) more expensive, if you do the numbers carefully you will find that is not necessarily so. The power of bulk buying plus the certainty of a long-term supply contract can generate sufficient savings to ensure that the offer is truly competitive; now and into the future.
While your body corporate manager is expected to be familiar with the Act and Regulation modules, they’re not lawyers. There’s a difference between (say) asking a body corporate manager for basic information or where to find something in the legislation and (in effect) asking a body corporate manager to offer a legal opinion on an issue confronting your body corporate. Savvy body corporate managers will refer you to real lawyers. Watch out for the ones that don’t.