22nd July, 2019
昆州政府 BCCM 辦事處處長對於小區物業費有話說…
原文作者：Chris Irons, BCCM Commissioner
翻譯： Paul P Shih 施伯欣老師
Let’s talk about money.
It’s a subject everyone has an opinion on, and this is also true about finances in the body corporate context.
While the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the Act) and its Regulation Modules are prescriptive about the process for collecting and then spending body corporate funds, I know that there remains uncertainty in the sector about some of these financial issues.
In this next series of articles, I will address several body corporate financial issues that are common sources of enquiry to my office. In this first part, I will begin by talking a bit philosophically – why is there a requirement for owners to pay ongoing levies and what are these meant to be used for any-way?
在這一系列文章中，我將討論幾個我辦公室常被詢問的有關於物業法人團體的財務問題。在第一篇文章中，我將首先講一點道理 - 為什麼要求業主持續支付物業費，這些物業費是要用來做什麼的？
While a body corporate is not a commercial entity, it does have day-to-day operational needs. Bills need to be paid. Services such as repairs and insurance that have been engaged and then carried out need to have money to cover them. This is why the Act requires the setting of budgets and, stemming from that, the payment of levies by owners.
To put it more simply, owners’ levies pay for the body corporate to fulfil its obligations – which are, of course, the owners’ obligations at the end of the day. I don’t know of anyone who enjoys paying bills and especially regular, recurrent bills.
That said, it is a fact of life that some things require an ongoing commitment of finances and when someone is an owner of a lot in a community title scheme, their commitment includes paying levies.
Let’s address a few common misconceptions about levies:
• At the risk of stating the obvious, levies are due…when they are due. While it is commonplace for a levy notice to be sent out in advance of the due date – as is the case with most other bills we pay in life – it remains the owner’s responsibility to pay by the due date. Saying “I didn’t get a reminder notice” or “The notice didn’t go to the correct address” is not necessarily a defence for not having paid on time. To be clear, levies are set at the annual general meeting, which means the minutes will reflect both what levies are payable and when.
• There is no connection in the Act between payment of levies and some other action. For example, there is no provision in body corporate legislation that says an owner can withhold their levy payment until the body corporate approves their request or enforces its by-laws. Nor is there any legislative basis for a lot owner to say, “Well my neighbour hasn’t paid their levies, so I’m not going to either.”
• There is nothing in the Act or the Regulation Modules which provides an automatic entitlement for either a discount for early or on-time payment of levies, or which compels the body corporate to enter into a payment plan with an owner. While a body corporate and owners can enter into these sorts of arrangements – and indeed, they are fairly common-place – it is not as of right.
• 法律或法規模組中沒有任何規定為提前或按時支付稅款提供自動的折扣，或強制法人團體與業主簽訂一個還款計畫。雖然法人團體與業主們之間這類型的安排相當普遍 —— 但這不是這權力。
Apart from these misconceptions, perhaps the most important consequence of non-payment of levies is that it may prevent an owner from voting at general meetings. Even being a few dollars short on one’s account can leave an owner “unfinancial” and this means they may not get to vote on motions which would have a direct impact upon them.
It is a daily occurrence that my office hears from lot owners who believe they shouldn’t have to pay a body corporate debt of some kind and who are firmly of the belief they are “in the right” about their reasons for not paying.
I’m certainly not going to tell anyone that their strongly-held reasons are misguided or wrong and neither do I hold any policing powers to compel owners to pay. That said, the point both I and my team always make is that in our view, you are far better off to pay the debt, become financial and thus, exercise your voting rights – then, if you still feel the need to, look at following up later on the disputed amount.
我當然不會告訴任何人，他們強而有力的理由其實是被誤導的或是錯誤的；我也沒有任何強制執法的權力來迫使業主支付。話雖如此，我和我的團隊始終提出的觀點是：在我們看來，把債務償還了不再因為欠錢而失去你的投票權，要好得多 —— 如果你仍然覺得有必要，那麼有了投票權以後再考慮對有爭議的金額提案追回。
One thing that might be difficult to predict and manage is financial difficulty and hardship. Sometimes, these things happen with no warning and despite the best of intentions, an owner may simply just not have the money to pay their levies.
From the owner’s perspective, there are some critical points about this to bear in mind. The key things in my view are to be as open about it as possible, as early as possible. I appreciate that it is very confronting to have to put one’s hand up to say that you are experiencing tough financial times and can’t pay. While there isn’t a need to divulge your full financial position to the world, a general discussion about it can make a significant difference.
For example, if you know that in a month’s time, when your levies will be due, that you won’t be able to pay some or all of the levy, then that is the time to start the discussion with your body corporate about it – not, for example, the day or week after the due date. Early discussion about financial circumstances demonstrates good faith on the part of the owner. If there are particular circumstances at play then it might be a good idea to mention those. An example might be if an owner is experiencing a medical condition which is making it impossible for them to earn an income or the same income they once were earning.
例如，如果你知道，在一個月後，當你的物業費將到期時，你將無法支付部分或全部的物業費，那麼你應該盡早的開始與你的業委會經理討論這件是 - 而不是等到截止日期後的一天或一周。及早討論財務狀況表現出業主的誠意。如果有特殊的狀況影響了你，那麼最好提及這些情況。例如，這個業主正在接受治療，而讓他們無法賺取任何收入或者是過去曾經有的收入。
Another way of demonstrating good faith is an under-taking to pay at least some of the levy. A small amount may seem token but in the long run it may demonstrate your willingness to meet your financial obligations which in turn may make the body corporate more willing to make an allowance for you and your financial circumstances.
Up to this point my focus has been on lot owners and their responsibilities in relation to payment of levies. In part two of this series, I will focus on the responsibilities of the body corporate and its committee to be responsible and accountable for how they spend body corporate funds.
For further information please contact the Information and Community Engagement Unit on 1800 060 119 or visit our website www.qld.gov.au/bodycorporate
欲瞭解更多資訊，請致電1800 060 119聯繫我們的資訊和社區參與部，或訪問我們的網站www.qld.gov.au/bodycorporate