26 Nov Adjudicators Order – Is CCTV Footage a Body Corporate Record?
Adjudicators Order – Is CCTV Footage a Body Corporate Record?
To add to the security of a strata scheme – more and more buildings are investing in CCTV cameras on the Common Property.
In this article, we delve into whether CCTV footage is considered a Body Corporate Record, what the requirements are if an owner needs to access footage & whether there are any other requirements around how long the footage is to be kept.
In schedule 6 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCM Act), a record is defined as: for a body corporate, means the rolls, registers and other documents kept by the body corporate under this Act (including under the regulation module applying to the scheme) and further to this, in the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 includes information stored or recorded on computer in the definition of ‘record’. As such, under these definitions, the adjudicator reviewing an application on this subject was satisfied that video footage captured and stored electronically can fall within the definition of a record and this ruling had been made in previous applications also.
The applicant lodged the request with the Commissioners Office, seeking a ruling that the CCTV footage that had been requested on numerous occasions be provided, however it was noted by the adjudicator that while the footage is considered a body corporate record, there is no obligation to provide documents unless the prescribed fee is paid, or at the very least there is some agreement between the interested person and the body corporate about payment of the fee.
The adjudicator noted that in rulings made by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal it was said that where the prescribed fee had not been paid, the request was not valid and was not effective in law and further clarified; Section 205(2) of the BCCM Act is quite specific in its terms in that the records must be provided ‘within 7 days after receiving a written request from an interested person accompanied by the fee prescribed under the regulation’. In the application we are reviewing, it was established that the owner requesting the record had not paid the prescribed fee.
In respect to the keeping of records and whether there is any requirement on the length of time footage is required to be kept, let me clarify that the owner who lodged the application was seeking footage from August 2018 & June 2019 and then, through a second request, footage from October 2018 & April 2019. The applicant asserted in her application that the body corporate were required to keep CCTV footage for at least 2 years, which the adjudicator noted was incorrect and further clarified that only those records specifically identified in the legislation are required to be retained for the periods outlined in the legislation. CCTV footage is not a record that the body corporate is required to retain and in this instance the chairperson noted that the recordings are automatically deleted after 3 months and therefore would no longer be available.
The adjudicator ruled that the application be dismissed based on the fact that there was no evidence that the records are still held by the body corporate and further noted that if, in the future, the owner seeks a copy of the CCTV footage they will need to ensure that the request is specific on what records a required to the secretary and that the secretary provide to the owner the correct process to request the records including payment of the prescribed fee and then once the fee has been paid the body corporate will need to supply the footage within 7 days.
The full order can be read – http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/qld/QBCCMCmr/2019/558.html
And more information can be obtained by visiting the Commissioners Office Website – https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/body-corporate/records/access-records