I don’t think Qld is any better, from recent experience with two different strata titled properties.
The respective BC Managers have been sold out to a nation wide private company who is buying up client lists and reducing effective competition.
Most owners in strata title schemes find it very difficult to change the manager who holds all the records and arrange/manage the meetings. Owners need to actually step away from a manager to seek alternatives before proposing a change. Or choose to run their BC directly without a separate provider. They also need to have the support of their unpaid committee members, most notably the chairperson who has key authorities necessary to act independently of the appointed manager.
Recent experience with major maintenance works and insurance renewals suggests that there is a closed shop environment that favours the larger managers. Most smaller Strata title schemes do not have owners with the knowledge or experience to question their manager.
Notably while the BC books are subject to audit, the financial dealings of the managers within their own businesses are not. Hence any evidence of impropriety through kick backs or dealings with related entities is difficult to discover. It is a one way relationship?
It appears that for smaller schemes you may often have unsophisticated investors and owners entering into contracts with advanced well developed businesses run by managers whose primary interest is maximising the value and returns for their business. Many of these are private companies, and hence subject to minimal public accountability or scrutiny of their performance.
For schemes with many owners (50, 100 or more) the annual BC managers fees can total in the $100,000s.
Hence the managing company can dedicate a full time professional backed up by substantial resources to a single strata title scheme. Few BC owners would ever have the knowledge, skills or resources to match their contracted management provider in any dispute between the two.
With many more consumers now buying into strata titled property or retirement facilities each with their own variations on form of service agreements it may become a substantial area of concern for Choice and government. Annual BC fees for MDU with 3 or more levels and lifts can easily exceed $10,000pa. There has been an industry wide past practice of developers understating or providing poor estimates of future costs to lure buyers.
Google does it’s usual Smokey Goggles trick (nothing to see here?) when you try to use it as a research tool around Body Corporate Managers or Insurance. This is caused by swamping of the results with sponsored or favoured advertising and business hooks.
Note there are more than 1.2 million dwellings classified as apartments by the ABS in 2016.
With typical BC fees of $5,000 or more per apartment the BC managers may be handling more than $6b annually, while the statutory balances in sinking funds may be many times more than this. It is a genuine billion dollar business worthy of closer examination as to profits and cash flows.