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Body Corporate Case Update: Cleaning Fees case
25 September 2013
This decision relates to an application by the body corporate for leave to appeal an adjudicator's decision. The dispute revolved around a debt owed by the body corporate for onsite caretaking services. The body corporate contended that the onsite caretaker had not demanded payment. Further, it argued that there was not a binding and enforceable agreement between the body corporate and the onsite caretaker. This was also in the context of the mortgagee for the units appointing external controllers to sell the units in the complex. The body corporate complained that the onsite caretaker had failed to notify it of the outstanding charges at or before settlement of the sale of the units to the purchaser of the units.
The Tribunal dismissed the body corporate's application for leave to appeal. It found that, regardless of whether the management agreement had been validly assigned or the option exercised, the central issue was a course of conduct had been established over three years for the onsite caretaker to undertake management and caretaking work and to be paid by the body corporate. Whilst there was some criticism of the onsite caretaker for not advising of the existance of the debt to the controllers of the units, it was found as a matter of law that the debt was still payable regardless. The change in ownership of the units (and therefore, effectively, the control of the body corporate) was irrelevant. Also, because the body corporate continued to engage the services of the onsite caretaker, it was estopped from relying on a technical argument that the engagement of the caretaker was deficient and therefore, void.
Citation : The Body Corporate for Paradise Sands CTS 14989 v Foresight Acquisitions Pty Ltd  QCATA 118
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