WHAT WE DON’T DO:
is act for caretakers or developers in body corporate law issues, as we see potential for awkward conflicts of interest – we usually act exclusively for committees of bodies corporate – and that’s it.
WHAT WE DO ‘DO’:
MHL proudly acts for bodies corporate in all matters that concern them and does so almost exclusively. If it’s body corporate- then we are your firm. We know the issues, we understand the difficulties and we have the solutions. We also have positive and dynamic working relationships with many body corporate management firms and are well respected within the industry.
If you’d like some examples of the sorts of matters we deal with daily, read on…
- where a developer establishes separate bodies corporate to suit a development and sales timetable, despite the inevitable duplication of costs; and
- where there are adjacent schemes of a similar nature which are looking to reduce costs.
MHL has acted for bodies corporate in both situations, and can advise and guide you through the process to achieve the right outcomes.
We can prepare and conduct any application you may need to make. Some recent successful examples (of many) include:
- opposing owners’ claims for significant damages allegedly arising out of termite damage;
- contesting the validity of exclusive use grants to a caretaker;
- opposing exclusive use grants to a penthouse owner;
- opposing to a plan to force owners to install air conditioners in their units;
- opposing a developer’s use of its voting power to prevent interest being imposed on overdue levies (most of which were the developer’s levies);
- opposing a developer’s use of its voting power to alter administrative and sinking fund contributions without regard to the needs of the Body Corporate;
- opposing one owner’s efforts to ban hard flooring throughout the building;
- seeking orders that a body corporate rectify leaks and repair damage to common property and the owner’s property (outcome pending)
Given that the reasonable costs of an assignment are payable by the outgoing caretaker, it is prudent for a committee to seek legal advice on the legal documentation proposed, to ensure that their interests are protected and to obtain the best possible assignment outcome.
We are pleased to say that usually, assignments do proceed well and without significant issues. But when problems arise, we are here to help resolve them or to assist in rejecting the appointment of an undesirable caretaker. Some recent examples include:
- where a caretaker shareholder had a recent conviction for domestic violence;
- the proposed caretaker’s purchase of a unit would contravene foreign investment laws;
- the proposed caretaker planned to conduct another business from the premises; and
- the proposed caretaker refused to agree to standard assignment clause.
Even where an assignment is to proceed, we often negotiate inclusion of new or improved clauses to better protect the committee’s interests and strengthen caretaker obligations. For example, committees may require an incoming caretaker to undergo ongoing training.
We can assist committees with:
- actions in the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (previously the Building Services Authority);
- negotiations with builders/developers; and
- owner communications as to the legal position.
- new decisions (cases) from the Commissioner’s office;
- new legislation; and
- new problems and opportunities.
We can draft specific new by-laws as requested or provide an appraisal of the existing by-laws.
It is also an unfortunate reality that sometimes occupiers or owners do not comply with by-laws and in these instances we are very experienced in assisting the committee with by-law enforcement.
Breach notices must comply with strict legal requirements. Many actions against caretakers have failed because of invalid breach notices.
MHL has drafted many breach notices and can advise and guide the committee in this tricky area.
We have extensive experience advising committees about a caretaker’s contractual obligations and the committee’s options to improve or enforce positive performance. Unfortunately, despite the genuine efforts of a committee, a caretaker may be unwilling or unable to satisfactorily perform their duties. In these circumstances we can advise the committee as to the sometimes tricky breach notice and termination process.
If your committee is concerned as to your caretaker’s performance then we recommend a meeting to discuss your options.
- documenting agreements incl service contracts, licenses, distribution agreements, settlements – whatever you need we can provide
- legal advice & strategy, especially in body corporate, disputes resolution, advertising, sales, trade practices, contracts, automotive and manufacturing
- client, supplier & competitor management & disputes advice,
- compliance services including trade practices, ethics, privacy programmes,
- legal documentation including contracts, letters, agreements, franchise, dealer, supplier, distributor, license, forms, disclaimers, advertising, etc
- negotiation advice, strategy, representation & management of litigation
- legal & risk management audit & reporting services
- staff education and training
Your body corporate will need these and many other contractual documents reviewed:
- caretaking agreements
- letting agents agreements
- security providers agreements
- refurb/ painting contracts
- facility share agreements
and so on.
We can draft, amend, audit and review documentation to ensure it meets your objectives.
TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR NEEDS!
MHL has acted for a number of people who have been defamed or who have been accused of making defamatory comments.
There are strict and short time limits for steps to be taken in a defamation action, so please do not delay seeking our advice if you have any concerns.
MHL has advised schemes about discrimination claims. Please take any allegation of discrimination seriously and do not delay in seeking advice.
MHL has an innovative and rapidly growing debt recovery practice. We assist dozens and dozens of bodies corporate to recover unpaid levies of any amount. Recent recoveries range from $1,000 all the way to over half a million dollars. We are efficient, proactive and tenacious at every stage – from letter of demand, through to settlement agreements and litigated recovery if necessary.
Other firms may offer a cheaper service, but we offer one that is proactive, efficient and effective. We have a track record of achieving positive results and do our best to recover debts outstanding. Please speak to Peter Hunt to see what we can do for your body corporate in this important area.
Whatever the issue, the chances are that MHL will have advised on that issue or a similar one before.
Usually the contractor will provide the body corporate with a contract drafted or approved by its lawyers. We always recommend that a prudent committee should seek advice to protect the interests of owners. It is important to understand the legal implications of contracts and to understand when amendments, insertions or changes need to be made.
MHL has advised bodies corporate in respect of major contracts involving: pool refurbishments; painting contracts; balustrade replacements; and window replacements.
Remuneration reviews often result in an increase in the caretaker’s remuneration and that means an increase in levies. Committees should protect themselves from criticism, and the owners from unnecessary increases in levies, by seeking legal advice on every review.
MHL has significant experience in remuneration reviews and can assist with any query about the processes.
MHL has advised parties as to their rights to use trade marks. We strongly recommend that anyone who is alleged to have infringed a trade mark seeks advice without delay.
Variations are not straightforward.
A committee should seek legal advice as the body corporate is being requested to execute legal documents (usually) prepared by a lawyer and which often affect existing agreements.
MHL reviews many variations each year, providing clear explanations as to content and recommendations as to risks. We work with our instructing committee to ensure that any variation is in acceptable form and in the best interests of the body corporate.