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Who Are Body Corporates?

Over the last few decades, we’ve seen a shift in the dwelling choices in Australia where more people are moving away from traditional housings into more of a community/apartment living arrangement. According to the latest census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more Australians are now living in apartments. Over the last 30 years, the number of occupied apartments in Australia has risen by 78%.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that you or someone you know will in due course be opting for the community/apartment living arrangement, whether it’s out of preference, convenience, or for other reasons. Community/apartment living can include the following types of properties:

• Duplex

• Residential unit block

• High rise accommodation complex

The properties mentioned above are most likely governed by the Body Corporate who are fundamentally the managing body or a group of owners of a property on subdivided land. If you’re planning to live in one of these properties, you will have to liaise with the Body Corporate during your dwelling. This can sound intimating if it’s your first time; however, understanding the role of the Body Corporate will help you interact more comfortably.

The Body Corporate run the building.

In summary, the Body Corporate is a group of people whose primary role is overseeing the operational aspect of the apartment building that contain two or more residences or units. We know that safety is the number one priority in most cases and the Body Corporate needs to resolve all issues relating to the common areas listed below to ensure that the building remains safe for daily use.

•  The gardens around the building

•  Entry foyer

•  Lifts

•  Stairwells

The Body Corporate keeps the records for the building.

In addition to maintaining the functionality of the building, another important task for the Body Corporate is to retain building records of activities that go on behind the scene such as building maintenances, corporate meetings and other documents listed below:

•   The use of the common property

•   Engaging service contractors

•   Committee voting

•   The roll of lots and entitlements

•   Notices for roll

•   Address for service

•   Register of assets

•   Register of engagements and authorisations

•   Register of common property authorisations

•   Register of exclusive use allocations

•   Register of reserved issues

To learn more about each record listed above, please visit Queensland Government.

The Body Corporate is required to keep these building records not only for legal reasons but also to provide credible information for property owners and potential buyers so that they are fully aware of all aspects relating to the building. Potential buyers can be deterred if the building records are missing correspondence, minutes, reports, paid and unpaid invoices and more. Therefore, having these building records on hand can significantly reduce the risks involved by allowing potential buyers to check the security of their investment before they buy.

The Body Corporate has specific responsibilities.

On top of maintaining the building and retaining the records, the Body Corporate is also responsible for the residents who are living on their property and solve legal matters to ensure a hassle-free living arrangement for all. They are responsible for the following:

•  Makes rules and guidelines for the building owners and residents to follow

•  Set the value of the payments the residents need to provide

•  Decides on fees that individual owners pay to the Body Corporate so it can operate. This allows the costs of property ownership and maintenance to be split, making this living arrangement a lot more affordable for all parties

•  Manages and controls Body Corporate assets

•  Ensure the right insurance covers the common areas in the building or property. This will usually include public risk and buildings insurance

These additional responsibilities will allow the Body Corporate to remain organised and better govern the properties to provide an enjoyable living arrangement for everyone.

The residents have responsibilities too. 

By now, it sounds like the Body Corporate have significant responsibilities to fulfil; however, as a resident, you also have responsibilities that you must aide to maintain an enjoyable living environment. Your responsibilities are as follows:

•  Paying the levies on time

•  Co-operate with your fellow residents and be considerate of your neighbours

•  Follow the rules set by the Body Corporate which can relate to; keeping animals on your premise, parking, general noise, renovating your lot and the cleanliness/appearance of your place

•  In some cases, you will have to fund any repairs outside of the common areas

These rules are straightforward and are very similar to the ones you would’ve encountered while living in traditional housings; therefore they should not be an issue. However, in the case of a breach, generally, you will be approached and notified in person and given a chance to explain yourself as you may not be aware that you have breached the rules. However, if the violation is related to a serious matter or if you are a repetitive offender, then you’ll receive one of the following notices:

•   A Future Contravention Notice which is intended for a breach that has stopped and may re-occur, e.g. noise

•   A Continuing Contravention Notice which is intended for on-going issues, e.g. an illegal structure

This is done to facilitate a harmonious community/apartment living arrangement by resolving a matter internally first.

Now that you understand the role of the Body Corporate and you know they are there to support you in your new living arrangement, you should feel more at ease when interacting with them. You also now understand your responsibilities as a resident living in a property governed by Body Corporate; therefore, armed with this information, you are ready for this new community/apartment living arrangement!

Contact us today if you’d like to discuss your options at 1300 013 730 or email hello@futurenowfinance.com.au