Our hotline receives many interesting questions from our members or public every day. Whilst some relate to the particulars of the scheme or owner involved, there are many topics which could be of interest to all of our members.
Q: I am told I cannot get email addresses of the other owners of my scheme because of the privacy issues. Is this correct?
A. According to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the Act) a body corporate (BC) must keep certain records and allow some people to see and copy these records. The records BC must keep include:
- accounting and financial records, including accounts, bank statements and invoices;
- orders and notices from a court, tribunal, council or other authority;
- body corporate insurance policies;
- correspondence to and from the body corporate;
- general and committee meeting minutes
and meeting material;
- notices and responses for motions passed outside a committee meeting;
- contracts with a body corporate manager or service contractor, and letting agent authorisations;
- any authority for a service contractor
or letting agent to occupy common property;
- agreements made under an exclusive
use by-law, and
- reports given by a body corporate manager acting for the committee.
The body corporate must also keep rolls and registers. These are, for example:
- a roll with the name, address and other details of each lot and lot owner, and
- registers of things like assets, exclusive use allocations, reserved issues, committee voting, engagements of service contractors/body corporate managers etc.
A body corporate can choose to keep any other records.
The email addresses of the owners may be part of Body corporate roll. The access (to see and/or get the copies) to body corporate records are granted by BCCM Act 1997 (s.204 and 205),
if you are:
- an owner of a lot in the scheme;
- a mortgagee of a lot;
- the buyer of a lot;
- someone who satisfies the body corporate
- of a proper interest in the records (e.g. a tenant who wants information about living in or using a lot) or
- the agent of someone in this list.
Accessing the records
The Regulation module provides the way (fees) for such access. The fees are prescribed and are changing from time to time.
If you are not on the committee, you need to give a written request to BCC and pay a prescribed fee. The BC must grant access to view the records and/or give you copies (a copy charge will apply) of them within 7 days of getting your request + fee. The body corporate can only charge the copying fee when supplying copies. A search fee will only apply if you inspect the records in person.
You can request that copies of documents which exist in the records be given to you. You must identify the documents you want. You do not have to personally search the records to obtain copies of identifiable documents.
If you cannot name the specific documents, you will need to search the records yourself and find the documents you want copied. You can appoint another person to do the search for you.
BC must grant reasonable access to BC records for BC committee members free of charge.
It is considered an offence for BC not to allow access to its records when requested. The exception applies when BC believes the document(s) may be defamatory, or must be kept confidential because of ‘legal privilege’
Privacy issues with accessing body corporate records.
The access to Body corporate records opens the possibility of owners having access to other owners’ emails. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on individual’s point of view. According to the Act official roll only needs to contain the name and address for service; however, due to obvious reasons the roll usually grows to contain other data such as contact phone numbers and emails.