Owners to launch legal action

A group of local residents plan to take legal action against their owners’ corporation (OC) over alleged unlawful rejection of their OC committee nominations.

Residents from the Boyd, Palladio and Sant’Elia buildings in NewQuay recently tried to nominate themselves for the OC committee, to be considered at the upcoming annual general meeting (AGM).

However, some residents say a “nominations sub-committee”, comprising members of the existing OC, has rejected their nominations ahead of the AGM.

Resident John Kakos says he received a letter from Boutique Property Management director Asime George, on behalf of the OC, advising the sub-committee had found  “there were other candidates who met the criteria more fully”.

Mr Kakos said he was aware of about 10 other residents who had nominated themselves for the OC committee and had received the same letter.

According to Mr Kakos, the OC does not have the legal authority to reject OC committee nominations.

He said all OC members were entitled to nominate themselves for election as a member of the OC committee and if the number of nominations exceeded the number of positions then OC members must vote on this at the AGM.

“They have no authority to reject nominations and there was no opportunity to review or appeal the decisions,” Mr Kakos said.

“At best it’s inappropriate and at worst illegal,” he said.

Mr Kakos said he and a group of around 10 residents planned to take legal action against the nominations sub-committee and would seek a Supreme Court injunction. The group will seek an order from the court declaring the nominations subcommittee invalid to ensure that all nominations received are considered at the AGM.

Ms George told Docklands News that the OC committee was following legal advice on the process and understood it was consistent with the legislation.

However, Consumer Affairs Victoria advised Docklands News that OCs and committees don’t have the power to reject nominations.

“The Act does not authorise owners’ corporations or committees to make their own rules about how to conduct the election process, including to veto nominations,” a Consumer Affairs Victoria spokesperson said.

Ms George did not respond when asked via email how vetoing nominations was consistent with the legislation.

According to the Consumer Affairs spokesperson, if the matter is not resolved, lot owners can apply to VCAT for “orders clarifying the issue”.