It is a very common occurrence for an issue to arise in a body corporate that can divide the tenents and cause a dispute. The development of email has bought a new layer to misunderstanding to these disputes with Body Corporates. It is an instant form of communication and with email you now receive the contentious communication that has been copied to all in sundry in an attempt by the originator to stamp their authority on the matter. When you hit “Reply All” and let the originator have it with both barrels, you have probably esculated the situation and made resolution of the dispute more difficult. Often the originator receives this prior to their heart rate returning to normal after having sent the prior email and then it is all on. Lobbying starts on both sides to the copied parties trying to secure their support. The original issue gets overtaken by the personal attacks from one to the other. Before email you would receive a contentious letter in the post you had layers of reflection in the reply process. Initially you may have hand written a draft of what your reply is going to be, edit this, and then write out a good copy. Proof reading of this a little while later shows something that may be a bit harsh so you redo the letter. Prior to putting the letter in the letter box you have had plenty of time to reflect on the contents and usually if you have said anything unwise you dont post the letter. At a minimum the sender of the original letter has had to wait about a week for the reply by which time the situation will have somewhat defused itself as time can be a great healer of many problems. With email its instantaneous and the reflective time isnt available before the dispute has magnified.
Thats why its very important when dealing with potential disputes involving body corporates to break the email chain. Don’t respond to emails unless there is a very good reason to respond, such as countering a false accusation. If you do have a valid reason that requires a response only reply to the sender. Do not under any circumstances respond with the “Reply All”.
Most disputes can be worked out and some body corporates have processes governing resolution of disagreements. Usually a dispute can be worked out in conjunction with the body corporate secretary, however if it can’t, then a plan of action is usually required to rectify this. Far too many people try to bury the issue hoping that it will all go away by itself by the time the next body corporate AGM is held.
It is best to deal with the people directly involved in this contentious event directly with the assistance of good legal advice. You may or may not need to invite the Body Corporate secretary, it will depend on your set of circumstances. Keep the invitee list to only those directly involved. For every extra person at a meeting like this the likely hood of success deteriorates exponentially. At this meeting give everyone a chance to speak and try to appreciate the issue from their point of view. Hopefully you will get to some form of agreement. If this is so then after the meeting one should email the other what their understanding of the resolution is and this should be replied to in the affirmative so long as you agree with the contents. Queen City Law are happy to help represent your case at this meeting or present your case on your behalf. If you think a meeting will get emotional, get legal advice and take a support person.
Often a Body Corporate will not meet to discuss the issue or you may not feel comfortable meeting them alone. Ask the Body Corporate secretary to chair the meeting or ask us to get involved. Let Queen City Law help resolve the situation. Our legal team are experts in resolving disputes with body corporates. Often this can begin with our lawyers either chairing or facilitating a meeting. With no vested interest in any outcome we can approach the situation in a neutral way, helping the people involved to reassess the situation. We identify the issues that are important to the peopleinvolved. We then work with all the parties to facilitate them coming up with creative solutions that will satisfy everyone’s long term interests.
If you have a problem with your body corporate get Queen City Law involved and ensure a satisfactory outcome without starting an email flame war. To read about how Queen City Law can assist body corporates with leaky building resolution and re-building click here.