These FAQs are intended only as a guide.
Contact your body corporate secretary to seek assistance with any questions you may have.
What is a body corporate?
A body corporate comprises all proprietors (or owners) of unit titled property. There are many types of buildings that are owned as unit titles (unit titles are also sometimes referred to as strata titles).
What types of properties can be unit titled?
Unit titled properties can be residential, industrial or commercial. They can include:
- high rise and low rise apartments
- terraced housing
- car parking buildings
- retail shops
- industrial units
- commercial offices.
How is a body corporate established?
At the time of development, all of the units are recorded on a legal document called a unit plan. When a developer first begins on a unit-titled project, the developer is the legal owner of the land.
A body corporate is established when a developer deposits the plan with District Land Registrar at the Land Information Office. The developer will also have lodged the body corporate rules and a body corporate secretary will have been established.
At the time of development, the body corporate may only consist of one member, the developer. As the units are sold and settled, new proprietors/owners become part of the body corporate.
How is a body corporate property insured?
The body corporate must have insurance in place for the property. The insurance should be based on full replacement value of the property and include demolition and architect fees. This is a requirement for unit titled properties under the Unit Titles Act 2010. It is also important for proprietors to discuss with the insurer public liability insurance and other provisions such as legal liability.
Can I have my own insurance policy for my unit?
No. You can and should, of course, have contents insurance. You may also consider and choose additional insurance if you have tenants in the property. Discuss these requirements with your insurer and check with your body corporate secretary the details of the building insurance as sometimes policies can include “landlord cover”.
I’m concerned about a nuisance that a tenant is causing. Can the body corporate secretary help me?
If you are concerned that the behaviour you have observed is illegal, contact the police in the first instance.
If you are concerned about the amount of noise that is coming from the property or if you think that the tenant is breaching the body corporate rules, you may wish to bring this to the attention of the tenant in the first instance. If this doesn’t work, contact your body corporate secretary who will assist you by contacting the proprietor of the property who is responsible for the tenant. If we manage the tenancy of the property, then we can deal with the issues through our rental department.
Am I allowed to have a pet?
It depends on the body corporate rules. Most rules do not allow for pets, so it is best to check with the body corporate secretary whether you can have a pet before getting one. If the rules specify that you are not able to have a pet, you can request that a meeting be held to put forward a proposal for the rules to be changed. An extra-ordinary general meeting will need to be called and if there is majority agreement at the meeting, the rules can be changed. A formal change of rules will need to be registered.
I have run out of storage space, can I place some of my belongings in the common area car-park?
The answer depends on the body corporate rules. It is, however, very important for common areas to remain clear for fire purposes. It is important to remember that storage of any materials that are a fire hazard (i.e. newspapers, dangerous or flammable goods etc) will breach your insurance policy.
There are things that need to be repaired in my unit. Will the body corporate cover these repairs?
The internal areas are the responsibility of the unit owner whereas the common areas are the responsibility of the body corporate. Sometimes, the rules may specify whether items such as windows are part of the common areas and therefore the responsibility of the body corporate. Telephone your secretary to discuss.
What is a s146 certificate?
Prior to settlement, the vendor’s solicitor should issue a request to the body corporate for a s146 certificate. The s146 certificate is designed to protect the purchaser of the unit as a number of disclosures need to take place by the body corporate. The s146 provides that the body corporate shall certify that:
- The amount of levies that the proprietor is paying and their frequency.
- The extent to which the levies have been paid by the proprietor.
- The amount of levies to be recovered by the body corporate.
- Whether the body corporate has entered into any contract to perform or resolved to perform any repair, work, or act in respect of which a liability has been or is likely to be incurred by the proprietor.
- The rate at which interest is accruing in respect of any amount owing to the body corporate by the proprietor.
- Whether or not the body corporate has received notice that any proceedings are pending against it.
What is an AGM?
An AGM is an annual general meeting. The purpose of the AGM is to allow all members of the body corporate the opportunity to share their views about the management of their property and to be involved in the decisions. It is held once a year within 12 months of the last meeting and no later than 15 months from the last meeting. At the AGM, proprietors will need to make decisions for the body corporate for at least the next twelve months. It is a formal meeting and there are certain procedural requirements for it to be held.
What is an EGM?
An EGM is an extraordinary general meeting. An EGM is called outside of an AGM for a specific purpose. From a procedural perspective, it is run as formally as an AGM.
What is a special meeting?
Sometimes a special meeting will be called to decide matters for which an EGM is not required. For example, a special meeting may be called for proprietors to decide on a colour for painting a small area etc.