The Body Corporate (BC) is the mechanism for taking are of the common property for the lot owners.It is the legal entity that is created when a Community Titles Scheme (CTS) is registered with the Department of Natural Resources.
Every owner of a lot in a community titles scheme is a member of the body corporate.
A body corporate is led by a committee who are selected each year at an Annual General Meeting. The committee runs the Body Corporate. If you are a lot owner then you are the Body Corporate whether or not you are on the committee.
The body corporate deals with either physical property issues or issues relating to people living together. Physical property includes gardens, tennis courts, driveways etc. and issues relating to people living together include parking, behaviour and noise.
The Body corporate can make decisions at either a general meeting of all the owners or a meeting of the committee. In other words, people can’t make individual decisions.
The BC can also engage outside help to manage the processes for example a building manager or a body corporate manager (like Matthews BCM).
What is the Body Corporate responsible for?
The Body Corporate (BC) is responsible for the repair and maintenance of common property. The lot owner is responsible for their lot.
Bodies Corporate are not allowed to spend any joint money on works that benefit only an individual lot, as it’s not fair use of their funds. The key to responsibilities lies in the scheme for your building; Standard Format Plan (SFP) or Building Format Plan (BFP). Always check YOUR plan.
Exclusive use car park in basement. Basement is common but the car space is the owner’s responsibility
The garage attached to a lot is the lot owners responsibility
Lot owners individual unless chard, then owners share costs.
Lot Owner. EXCEPT balustrade or very external portion
Exterior =common Interior = lot owner (including sliding door to balcony)
Common = BC Lot= Lot owner
External and Internal = lot owner
Plumbing and Electrics
Exterior = BC
Exterior = BC (to yard boundary)
What does our Body Corporate Manager do?
Your BCM is appointed by the committee to perform tasks such as the role of secretary or treasurer for the committee. The BCM can also advise the committee and help them to navigate the processes and legislation as it relates to their scheme. For a lot of schemes your BCM maintains your records and controls your finances which can sometimes seem like they are in charge when actually they are not.
Your BCM acts according to the instructions of the committee. All decisions of the body corporate are made by all the lot owners by voting on motions that have been submitted in accordance with legislation.
What is the role of the committee?
The committee is made up of lot owners or people w
The committee is in charge of:
looking after the administrative and day-to-day running of the body corporate
making decisions on behalf of the body corporate
putting the lawful decisions of the body corporate into place.
The committee can make decisions by calling a committee meeting or by voting outside a committee meeting.
What is common property?
The boundaries for common property and individual lots appear on your plan for your scheme – whether your building is a building format plan or a standard format plan. Defining the boundaries is important for deciding who is responsible for what.
Building Format Plan (BFP):
In a BFP the boundary of the lot is the entry door and external walls.Measurements are taken from the centre of the walls, floors and ceilings. The other side of the wall floor or ceiling is either another lot or common property. In a BFP the lots are the building only and the land around each structure is common property.
Standard Format Plan (SFP):
Boundaries are in the ground and defined by surveyors marks, so the lot includes all the land surrounding the structure just like a feestanding home. An SFP usually has less common property and more lot.
Repairs can at time be carried out on common property but to infrastructure that belongs solely to a lot owner, in which case this is the lot owners responsibility. (EG a pipe that runs through the roof but services only one lot owner.)
Why can it take so long to get things fixed?
Your committee is responsible for addressing and planning maintenance at your building in the common areas. The process can break down when the committee doesn’t act quickly or when they are not actively involved in decision-making. If you have emailed your committee with a repair request the committee will table the correspondence to be discussed at the next meeting.
It can also be difficult initially to determine whether the repair is a lot owners or BC responsibility. More about responsibilities here
Regular and predictable maintenance e.g. Gardening, is budgeted for and this spending budget is the basis for your levy payments. Every other issue that arises needs to be addressed on a case by case basis. The budget is often tight and quite often waiting for funds to become available can be the reason that repairs take so long to arrange.
The correct tradesperson needs to be sourced, quotes need to be obtained, work needs to be authorised, monitored and inspected by the committee before payment can be made to the tradesperson.
How is a Body Corporate financed?
All owners pay a contribution (levy) that’s agreed to at the annual general meeting.
There are two types:
a contribution to the administration fund, which covers day-to-day things like insurance premiums, management fees, common electricity, gardening& cleaning of common property, pool cleaning, insurance. (Insurance levies are included in the administrative fund levy unless the contribution and interest lot entitlements are different.)
a contribution to a sinking fund, which covers future capital expenses like driveway refurbishment, repainting, replacing carpets, overhauling the lift and repairing roofs and gutters.
Special Levies are levies for un-budgeted costs and can be in one of the above two categories for out of the ordinary expenses.
Contributions usually go up if new work needs to be done or additional expenses pop up. If you’re an owner you can vote against an increase or put up a motion for a different amount if you want. Body corporate managers can also put forward a motion for an increase in contributions.
By being actively involved in the running of a body corporate you can have a real say in how funds are spent and how projects are planned, so get involved!
How do I become a member of my BC committee?
The opportunity to elect new committee members occurs at each Annual General Meeting (AGM) of your body corporate. The secretary must serve notice on each owner, inviting nominations for the election of chairperson, secretary, treasurer or ordinary member of the committee. Remember, unless the body corporate resolves otherwise, this election must be by secret ballot.
Why is our Body Corporate Insurance Claim taking so long?
There are two major reasons that make the claim process a lengthy one
The claims process for the Insurance Company
The way Bodies Corporate operate
BC insurance claims are a lot more complicated than personal ones. Claims can be single or multiple depending on the damage and the areas affected (common property or lot owner’s property)
The process involving multiple people and communication channels is another reason why the process can be interrupted. Assessors, insurance companies, the committee, tradespeople, property managers, tenants, lot owners, can all be involved in an insurance claim in some way. To make any decision requires a meeting of the committee or a vote on a motion which can take some time. Even the simple act of obtaining quotes may require weeks or months before the committee can meet again to instruct the Body Corporate Manager. The works still can’t begin until the insurer make their final decision and at times the volume of claims (for example after a storm) can delay that process.
Can I keep a pet in my building?
Your committee may consider pet approvals on a case by case basis. If you are a tenant and your lease says that your owner allows pets, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the body corporate will allow them and you will still need to apply, as each pet must be applied for. Approval for previous tenants to have a pet in your apartment is not going to guarantee your pet’s acceptance.
Start by filling out a Pet Application form to be submitted to the committee for approval. You can also find the form on the Body Corporate page of our website.
The acceptance of your pet may be subject to certain rules or Body Corporate By-laws controlling pets. If you are a non-registered owner (e.g. prospective buyer or tenant) your application is subject to a $65 inc GST application fee which needs to be paid prior to a decision being returned. You will also need to supply a certificate from a vet with regard to your pet’s health and other vital information. You will also need to complete one form per animal. Please return your form to firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment details are on the form and credit cards are accepted over the phone – please call 07 3848 0655 (press 1 for reception)
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