Q   What are the duties under a Caretaking Agreement?

A   The general duties are contained within the Caretaking Agreement. It should be noted however that agreements can vary and some include a full duty schedule that makes it clearer for managers and committees to determine what is required. Some agreements are quite general and there may be a need for advice form an external consultant to interpret the requirements if the committee and the manager cannot agree on the level of service and frequency of duties.

Q   How is the Remuneration Paid under a Caretaking Agreement?

A   In general payments for remuneration are made monthly either in advance or arrears dependent upon the terms of the agreement. At BCP we ensure that payments are made on time by setting up a direct payment every month directly to the nominated bank account. We also calculate any annual adjustments and pass these to the Resident Manager for checking and confirmation. The body corporate will require a Tax Invoice to cover each month’s remuneration under the GST legislation.

Q   Can a Resident Manager vote at Body Corporate Meetings?

A   The body corporate holds 2 types of meetings, Committee Meetings and General Meetings. At a committee meeting a Resident Manager is not able to vote as the Act defines you as a “non voting committee member”. At a General Meeting, if you are also a lot owner, you are entitled to vote in the same capacity as any other lot owner within the scheme without being concerned regarding any perceived conflict of interest.

Q   Am I able to hold Proxy Votes?

A   This also requires a 2 part response. At committee meetings you cannot hold a proxy as you are not a voting member of the committee. At a General Meeting you may hold whatever the statutory number of proxies is determined by the relevant Regulation Module, eg Accommodation Module = 10% of the total number of lots, Standard Module = 5% of the total number of lots over 20 lots.

Q   How much Spending can I authorise as a Resident Manager?

A   This can vary based on the wording of the Caretaking Agreement. The most common figure is $500 for the purchase of consumable items that are required to carry out the caretaking duties, but this would normally be able to be changed by the committee from time to time. Committees may also provide an approval for a Resident Manager to authorise the engagement of contractors for small jobs up to a certain value. Unless this is sated in the agreement it would be up to the committee and the manager to come to an agreement on what spending is allowed and for what purpose, keeping mind the relevant limits that apply for committee spending.

Q   How do I communicate with the Committee?

A   There should be provision in the agreement for the body corporate to nominate either 1 or 2 members to communicate directly with the committee. In a practical sense this may not always be the case but officially contact should be limited to the nominated members who would then report and receive guidance from the committee as a whole. It is a good idea to review this arrangement each year or if there is a change of committee at the AGM. A good working relationship between the Resident Manager and the body corporate liaison can have a very positive impact on the operation of the scheme.

Q   Am I required to enforce the By Laws?

A   Most agreements will require the Caretaker to “monitor observance” of the by-laws. This is usually interpreted to mean that the caretaker should do what they can to overcome a breach by an occupant but if any enforcement processes are required, this should be referred to the committee to provide instructions to the BCM to issue a contravention notice. Some agreements are worded differently and this should be a consideration in all cases.

Q   How often should I provide a Manager’s Report to the Body Corporate?

A   Ideally a monthly report should be provided to the committee, but in most cases a report is only required for committee meetings that are likely to be held quarterly. The report is very important to inform members of the committee clearly of what duties have been undertaken and what matters require attention. It should include details relevant to any spending that requires approval and include quotes so the committee can save time and make decisions at meetings rather than getting bogged down in discussion. Photos and recommendations are always useful in making issues clearly understood. It is also recommended that the report be made available to the committee at least a week before a meeting so any questions can be answered or further information sourced to once again allow decisions to be made.

Q   How often are invoices paid and what can a Resident Manager do to assist in prompt payment?

A   Invoices are paid on a weekly basis but if a contractor requires a more immediate payment this can be arranged by agreement on odd occasions. Invoices should be made payable to the body corporate and should also include the contractors ABN and bank account details, contact phone number and postal address. If the invoice is required to be authorised by members of the committee this should be done as quickly as possible and you should ensure that you have confirmed to the committee members concerned that the job has been completed satisfactorily and that the cost is in line with the quote. We have introduced an On Line Invoice Approval Hub that allows approvals to be processed electronically and use of this service will definitely speed up the process as all we need is a scanned copy of the invoice and we can have it approved in no time.