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Commissioners Corner – Who is Responsible for…? (QLD)

As Commissioner, one of the most common phrases I have seen and heard in either information enquiries or dispute resolution applications is “who is responsible for…?”

The idea of ‘responsibility’ is at the heart of so many body corporate matters and this is particularly so when it comes to the roles and responsibilities of accommodation managers. Unfortunately, misunderstandings of the roles and responsibilities of people involved in a community titles scheme can result in disagreements and disputes.

Accommodation managers can assist in avoiding those types of disputes by having a clear understanding about their relationship with the body corporate for a community titles scheme and their relationship with individual unit owners who appoint the manager to let their unit.

While the Commissioner’s Office cannot provide legal advice, it can provide general information about what the legislation says and so this article attempts to give general information and thus, clarity, around basic roles and responsibilities.

For some readers, this might seem like terribly basic information but even so, a refresher does no harm.

First, let’s try to establish some basic principles.

Under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, bodies corporate can engage a person to provide caretaking and other types of services to the body corporate, and also authorise the person to conduct a letting business for the scheme. The technical term under the BCCM Act for this role is a ‘caretaking service contractor’, but other common descriptions include ‘onsite manager’, ‘on-site letting agent’ and ‘building manager’.

While the BCCM legislation contains a range of provisions dealing with the relationship between bodies corporate and caretaking service contractors, it is important to keep in mind that the body corporate and caretaking service contractor have a contractual relationship.

Under the relevant service contract and letting authorisation, both parties will have a range of rights and obligations. The specific terms of these agreements should be the first port of call if a query arises about whether or not a manager is required to perform a particular task or service.

Typically, bodies corporate are represented by an elected committee. The committee can be seen as an executive arm of the body corporate, carrying out functions and decisions of the body corporate properly considered (and passed).

As such, it is critical for accommodation managers to do their best to establish a positive, working relationship with the committee.

From time to time, unit owners may have concerns about the performance of a caretaking service contractor, for example, a unit owner may have a complaint about how well common areas such as pools and gardens are being maintained. In some cases, individual owners may directly approach a caretaking service contractor to undertake a specific caretaking task.

Accommodation managers work in a service industry and I encourage all managers to treat unit owners with courtesy and respect. There is no doubt that those managers that ‘go the extra mile’ for unit owners and guests and aim for excellent, responsive service can build strong, productive relationships for the benefit of both the body corporate as well as the manager’s own business, including through positive on-line reviews and repeat business.

However, if serious issues occur, it is also important to remember that the parties to a service contract/letting authorisation are the body corporate and the caretaking service contractor. So, if significant matters arise that cannot be resolved informally, individual unit owners should be submitting their concerns to the body corporate. In turn, the body corporate (often through the elected committee) can then negotiate and liaise with the manager about those matters.

Of course, both bodies corporate and accommodation managers should always consider seeking legal advice if they require assistance interpreting or enforcing provisions of a contract.

The other important relationship that an on-site manager has is with individual unit owners that choose to appoint the manager to let their unit. This relationship is quite distinct to the relationship the manager has with the body corporate described above.

Under the Property Occupations Act 2014, a person who performs the functions of a resident letting agent must hold a licence issued by the Office of Fair Trading.

The Property Occupations Act also includes a range of requirements relating to the appointment and conduct of resident letting agents. Importantly, when it comes to carrying out their letting functions, resident letting agents must act in the best interests of their individual unit owner clients.

I would encourage anyone with general queries about roles and responsibilities under the BCCM Act to contact the Information Service of the Commissioner’s Office on 1800 060 119 or

As well, the website at has a raft of information products which may assist.

The website also contains details of free seminars being held by the Information Service in May and June 2015 and you can register online your interest in attending (

For anyone with questions about the Property Occupations Act, please contact the Office of Fair Trading on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or visit

This article was contributed by Chris Irons, Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management.


Leave a Reply

  1. Kerryn Beck

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this article.

    I have a general question that relates to the role of Letting Agent/Caretaking Contractor for owner/occupiers.

    What is the obligation /procedure if an owner occupier has an insurance issue they believe is a Body Corporate Insurance matter. Do they have any obligation to advise or discuss this with the Caretaker before lodging a claim with the Body Corporate Manager?

    As the Caretaker is on site one would assume they should be advised in the first instance, but is this correct?

    Quite pertinent for us at the moment because of Cyclone Debbie.

  2. Chris Irons, Commissioner

    Hi Kerryn and thanks for your comment and queries. I would recommend giving the Information Service of my Office a call on 1800 060 119 for some further information about this.

  3. Michelle

    Will you be talking about the Extra Services that are in Letting Agent Agreements and how these should explain the business to be undertaken in that clause to allow the Body Corporate to fully understand what is going to be run on the common property, how they will provide the BC with appropriate record management if the BC is paying for all commercial equipment.

    Will you be explaining the role of the Letting Agent with Extra Services and their responsibilities to the BC in asset and record management, compliance etc responsibilities.

    Thank you.

  4. Jane Wilson, Acting Commissioner

    Hello Michelle and thank you for your query.

    My office does not provide information about contracts or agreements between bodies corporate and service contractors. You may like to seek independent legal advice about those issues.

    If you would like to give our Information Service a call on 1800 060 119 they can provide general information about the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 and our dispute resolution services.