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Just when you thought that the WHSA was just a body corporate issue

By Frank Higginson09 Mar 2012

Make sure you have read our body corporate newsletter before you read this one for the background.

It is without doubt that every resident manager is now a PCBU regardless of whether or not your body corporate is. The new regime creates obligations for you as a PCBU and as a contractor of the body corporate.

What we think every resident manager needs to consider immediately is:

  1. What your WHSA responsibilities are under the both the WHSA and your management rights agreements.
  2. Getting your own compliant WHSA plans in place.
  3. Assisting the body corporate to get their WHSA plan in place.
  4. Understanding what insurance you have in place and what it extends to.
  5. How you draw the WHSA obligations to the attention of your letting pool owners and tenants.

You must ensure that you are fulfilling your responsibilities under the WHSA and your management rights agreements. It is also very important that you understand where your responsibilities finish and those of the body corporate start.

Remember the same criminal penalties apply to you as a PCBU as those that apply to a body corporate. An entity that acts recklessly causing death or serious injury can be liable for a penalty of up to $3 million. An individual involved with the same incident can be liable for a fine of up to $600,000 and jail time of up to 5 years.

The combination of management rights, body corporate and the WHSA is a very unique set of circumstances and you should make sure you seek specialist advice from people that understand all three (naturally that includes us).

We expect that many bodies corporate will try to thrust complete responsibility for their WHSA obligations on their resident manager. We do not think this will be appropriate, but ultimately this is governed by your management rights agreements.

We are already helping clients through the myriad of issues that arise under the WHSA so far as it relates to their management rights businesses. That starts with a review of their management rights agreements to determine who is responsible for what.

More red tape and more compliance, but there is no point complaining about it. It is now law and it must be dealt with.