Obscured Conflict of Interest - See the attached image 1. OC managers takes OC trust account 'interest' 2...
VCAT - "Responsible to no one and answerable to no one..."
Read this letter sent to the principle registrar of VCAT by a resident from Knoxfield:
I won’t be attending this hearing as I have already wasted too many days off work at previous VCAT hearings.
There is no point in putting in a written submission based on my own objections to this development as VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) have publically stated that concerns/objections by members of the public do not count and won’t be taken into consideration.
In every VCAT case that I have been involved in across our local area the developer has always managed to have the council refusal overturned despite council rejecting their applications and many local residents posting valid objections.
The developers legal council are extremely well prepared and no expense is spared in the preparation of their case. They can hire lawyers & barristers to search every loophole and rubbish every legitimate objection by council and members of the public. They regularly submit revised plans at the VCAT hearing, at the last minute, to win favor in their cases (I have seen this on many occasions).
VCAT is not the unbiased umpire that it was originally intended to be. It is now a defacto planning approval body with no real interest or knowledge of the local area where these inappropriate developments will be built.
VCAT is responsible to no one and answerable to no one.
If VCAT were truly unbiased then the majority of rulings would confirm the local councils professional planning assessments. Instead we see the majority of council rejections overturned in favour of the developer despite them not meeting local council approval.
There is a huge public groundswell of resentment across Melbourne at the way developers can use VCAT to circumvent valid local council decisions and completely ignore local residents objections and concerns.
VCAT must be drastically overhauled before residents and councils can have any faith that it is a fair and just umpire in planning review decisions.
ABC news report on council anger at VCAT powers.
 [CAT stands for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It is supposed to dispense justice cheaply and democratically for Victorians. But it has become expensive, biased and corrupted to satisfy developers.
More 4 VCAT Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal are Absolute Toothless Tigers, big toothless CATs!...
Tips for self representing at VCAT’s Owners Corporation List
The VCAT Owners Corporation list is fully funded by the Victorian Property Fund, which in turn is funded by Real Estate Agents and Owners Corporation Managers.
Consequently a ‘conflict of interest’ exists. VCAT is certainly perceived as having a bias towards managers. They not only refuse to rule against managers and OC’s, but they protect them by coming down hard on any owner who dares to complain.
The linked article from The Age below, is only a small sample of the bias.
However, if you decide to represent yourself against an Owners Corporation how can you ensure you get a fair go – well the fact is you can’t, but the following tips may help.
Agreeing to solicitor representing the OC: The members have the power to allow solicitor to represent managers. However, they will ask if you mind if the OC being represented. If you say you don’t mind then you are agreeing to the solicitor representing against you, then because you agreed to it this makes it easier for the member to order you to pay costs. (Yes, solicitors are not supposed to represent in cases under $10, 000, and Members are not supposed to order such legal costs against owners – but remember the laws are only a guide to VCAT members)
Financials: If you have previously voted to accept the financials then members will say you accepted them so you can’t now complain. A simple fact is that it’s not illegal to change your mind. If circumstances change that now show the financials do not add up, say that to the Member.
Voting, abstain from voting: Because of the above it’s best if you always abstain from any OC voting. Including financials and other issues.
Documents - how to get: Owners Corporation Managers are notorious for not providing OC document inspections as required by the OC Act. mbers are just as notorious for not ordering Managers to do so. This denies the owner viewing documents. To get documents quote the Corporation Act, “Section 144 etc”.
Documents: don’t let member charge you ridiculous fees to view/copy documents. By the Act you are allowed to inspect the documents at no charge. Take your own scanner or camera to copy documents.
Take a witness to inspect documents, otherwise the manager may claim he refused to show you documents because you became aggressive, or that he showed you all documents when he in fact refused. If you have these types of issues sigh an affidavit stating exactly what happened.
Confirm with the member what you should do if you don’t get documents. This way when you go back to VCAT complaining that the manager refused to show you documents, the member can’t abuse you for wasting time, because you are following their previous direction.
Don’t be fooled into believing you’re guilty: Member may intimidate you, and make you feel guilty. Once you start to doubt yourself you’re as good as done. Don’t be intimidated by Members ignoring or denying your claims, or gesturing and yelling at you.
Take a witness. This makes it harder for member to unfairly rule against you. But a warning, the member will try and discredit you in the eyes of the witness, and once he’s done that he will whitewash against you. You need a witness who is legal savvy. Someone who knows how VCAT works.
Don’t stay silent when the member makes significant claims against you, because this means you are effectively agreeing. They now become legal because you agreed.
OC opens with a mass of false irrelevant claims: OC solicitors may open with a list of insignificant and false claims, including details such as dates to upset the owner, The Member may play the game and stare the owner down at the same time. This is an attempt to upset you. Take notes, and answer each claim in turn. This will make the solicitor look foolish, and show the members that you are not his fool.
Member questioning Owners Corporation or its solicitor: To make it appear that no bias exists, Member will only ask the OC representative questions they know they can answer. For example they may seemingly demand copies of the VCAT application form, knowing full well that if the OC does not have a copy they the member will just that he has a copy in his file (The member will first look through his file and act surprised that they are in it).
Have the orders written properly. This is classic Barry Josephs. The member writes the orders in an obscured way then denies the orders at a latter hearing. For example he leaves off dates, detail, etc. Don’t trust members with orders – insist that they are written as stated.
Audio: Don’t think that if the member is blatantly ignoring law that you can get audio and appeal. Members audit hearing audio. This includes any silly claims, abusive comments, manager & solicitors comments that indicate guilt.
Act only applies against owners, - don’t get upset. In a serious case, if an owner, try to put claims against a manager, the member will dismiss them or view them as trivial. They are hoping to upset owner – because this gives the member an excuse to whitewash against the owner.
Dont claim fraud or make serious allegations without getting documents/proof first.: VCAT members despise anyone who claims any owner who effectively claims fraud against a manager. Never claim fraud unless you already have the documents, because there is no way will Members give you access to documents if they think you may use them to claim fraud.
V CA T provides audio of the hearings at a cost. However, the members edit the audio. If you want to complain...
I went to Consumer Affairs Victoria to complain. Despite the blatant rip-off the so-called watch dog abused...
Anyone with anything to do knows that this tribunal is biased, with many decisions made before hearings and evidence is heard.
VCAT is funded by these funds
Residential Tenancies Fund
Domestic Building Fund
Guardianship and Administration Fund
Retail Tenancies Fund
Legal Practice List
Victorian Property Fund
What does this mean.
If you're against someone who pays money to the above then that person is also funding VCAT. In turn VCAT will show a bias towards this person or company.
An example is the funding from the Victorian Property Fun. Owners corporation managers fund this list. If you're against a manager on this list you lose, it's as simple as that.
Don't trust VCAT judges or members.
VCAT owners corporation manager refuses to respect the law. There manager Sandor Csapo is allowed to do as he wishes, such s charging GST tax when not registered, apply illegal fines, charging for non existing work. When caught out he refuses to refund. VCAT refuse to take action against their manager.
Read below for detail as taken from The Age newspaper.
BODY corporate managers accused of ripping off Victorian home owners are retaining their government registration, even after facing court sanctions or criminal charges. In one case, an owners' corporation manager who has run properties and developments for 38, 000 Victorians has been the subject of multiple complaints but still retained his registration.
The alleged misconduct of Sandor Csapo highlights gaping holes in the regulation of the industry that expose Victorian owners and investors to significant losses. This year, he was charged with fraud offences in connection to his management of a 45-unit Latrobe Valley nursing home.
In November, Csapo was sacked from a large Melbourne CBD development by owners who are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in contested fees. They include large water bills charged to owners of car parks with no water supply. Owners from other developments have repeatedly taken Csapo to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, including a case last year in which he was ordered to pay $16, 800 to the body corporate of the Seabrook residential development in Point Cook.
Another body corporate in Melbourne is facing bills of up to $120, 000, after construction organised by Csapo's company was condemned by the council. Csapo is still registered by the Business Licensing Authority via his company Shanga Pty Ltd and told Fairfax Media that, despite his recent problems, he has recently been hired by several more Victorian owners' corporations.
Csapo said he had ''made the wrong call'' by re-creating several lost receipts linked to his management of a Moe nursing home complex - conduct for which he is facing criminal charges.
But he said he had rectified this ''mistake'' and most complaints about his conduct arose because owners' corporations often misunderstood the industry regulations under which he operates.
Csapo said he did not know how many times he had been taken to VCAT, but said that he had only lost his case against Seabrook because he was too ill to attend the hearing. He agreed with a view held by several body corporate members who contacted Fairfax Media to complain about his conduct. ''I believe the whole industry needs a shake-up, '' Csapo said. ''The laws are appalling and they don't protect anybody.''
There is almost no regulation and oversight of the state's 500 or so owners' corporation managers, with body corporate members often left with no choice but to take unresolved disputes to VCAT. Similar problems exist in other states.Even in a successful case, the money VCAT orders an owners' corporation manager to repay is rarely seen. Csapo has not paid the $16, 800 he owes Seabrook owners.
While many of the state's owners corporation managers have good reputations, some in the industry have privately conceded that substandard managers are never held to account due to lax regulation.
Up to 300 investors were stung in 2009 after Mark Baranov, a former director of the Dodo internet company turned owners corporation manager, failed to pay rent owing on CBD storage units he managed. It took until November last year for corporate watchdog ASIC to give Mr Baranov a two-year director's ban in connection to his activities as an owner's corporation manager between 2003 and 2009.
The owners of more than 300 car parks at 55 Franklin Street in Melbourne's CBD, who sacked Csapo in December, are facing the prospect of a freeze on rent payments to cover almost $250, 000 in debts. In 2001, the car park development promised investors a 7 per cent return. The car park owners face an additional hurdle that has nothing to do with Csapo. A caveat held by commercial interests linked to dead underworld boss Mario Condello has prevented the sale of several car parks that have failed to pay body corporate fees for years.
Csapo stalled the handing over of financial records from the Franklin Street development, arguing that he was entitled to do this because some of the members had not paid their bills. Since his sacking from the site, owners have begun auditing these records and discovered several discrepancies. Csapo denied that he was responsible for these anomalies, claiming that a subcontractor he hired to manage the car park was to blame.
The state government has committed to registering all owners' corporations managers in a new national system that will be in place by the end of this year. But this will not lead to any more oversight or enforcement.
Is the VCAT owners corporation list corrupt? I give you 10 facts. Fact 1. The owners corporation law...
Is the VCAT owners corporation list corrupt? I give you 10 facts. Fact 1. The owners corporation law...
Barry Josephs, Consultant at McCabe Terrill and VCAT member. Don't trust, blatant liar under oath...