Recovering owners corporations fees from lot owners

Owners corporations can apply to VCAT to recover unpaid owners corporation fees from lot owners. These applications are made under the Owners Corporations Act 2006

Individuals representing the owners corporation

You can represent the owners corporation if you are the manager of the owners corporation. If there is no manager, another person can appear on behalf of the owners corporation. At the hearing, the VCAT member may ask for written evidence that the owners corporation has given the representative authority to act on its behalf.

The respondent is the lot owner who has not, or may not have, paid their fees.

Before you apply

Requirements for owners corporations

There are some steps an owners corporation needs to take before they can apply to recover fees.

The Owners Corporations Act 2006 states an owners corporation must:

  1. Set the fees properly. The Act provides details of how to set fees.
  2. Send the proper notices. The Act says that you need to send two notices to lot owners who have not paid fees. You need to create these notices using special forms. The only owners corporations who do not have to send these notices are those with two lots. The forms are available from Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

For more information, check sections 23-32, section 162 and section 163 of the Act.

Follow the dispute resolution procedure first

If you are making an application about a breach of the Owners Corporations Act 2006, regulations or rules – you must follow the dispute resolution procedure set out in the owners corporations rules. If the owners corporation has not made any rules of its own, the procedure in the model rules applies.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. If you are represented by a legal or other professional representative, we will only communicate with them.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can hear applications to recover unpaid owners corporation fees from lot owners.

An owners corporation can make a fee recovery application without the need for a special resolution.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

VCAT cannot hear cases for the recovery of owners corporation fees if a fee notice and a final fee notice have not been served in accordance with sections 31 and 32 of the Owners Corporation Act 2006.

  • When we receive your application we allocate a reference number. We send a notice of hearing by post to all parties, including the respondent. We also send the respondent a copy of your application. The notice of hearing sets out the date, time and place of the hearing. We may also ask you to attend a directions hearing so that VCAT may decide what needs to happen next, including options to resolve your case without a hearing. Read more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.

  • At VCAT we use compulsory conferences and mediation to allow the parties to work together towards a settlement. If we tell you to attend a compulsory conference or mediation, it may help if you prepare an opening statement. Use the opening statement to clearly state your case. It can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the parties. See more about how to resolve a case by agreement.

  • The VCAT member decides the case based on evidence and submissions. As soon as we provide a hearing date, start preparing for the hearing. You should bring all documents to support your case, with an additional copy to be provided to the member and the other parties. Read more about how to prepare for your final hearing.

  • Arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. When your case is called, move into the hearing room and wait for the member to announce that your case is about to be heard. Read more about what to expect on hearing day.

  • The VCAT member may give their decision at the end of the hearing. If they need more time they usually give a decision within six weeks of the last hearing date or the date when any further written submissions are filed with us. The VCAT member may give reasons for the decision verbally or in writing. If you want the reasons in writing, you must make the request within 14 days of the hearing date. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.