Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a body corporate?

The body corporate for a community titles scheme is composed of all the owners in the scheme. Every new owner automatically becomes a member of the body corporate.

The body corporate must comply with the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act) and regulations.

The body corporate (owners or their representatives) makes decisions on matters with shared responsibility. These include:

  • maintenance and management of common property, including equipment and services
  • determining levies (financial contributions) which owners must pay to fund its operation
  • public risk insurance
  • any compulsory building insurance
  • establishing and enforcing by-laws (rules) relating to the management and control of lots and the common property.
  • When considering purchasing a unit in a community titles scheme, you should find out if there are any fees and charges still owing – as the new owner, you will be obligated to honour the payments.

What is a community titles scheme?

A community titles scheme may include any duplex, residential unit block, high rise accommodation complex, shopping complex or business park. Such schemes are comprised of individually owned lots or units and common property.

Community titles schemes allow for flexible living arrangements where a person can privately own an area of land or part of a building as well as share common property areas with other owners.

If you are considering purchasing a unit or townhouse, you need to be aware you will be buying into a community titles scheme.

You will not only have certain rights and responsibilities for your own property, but also the common property shared with other owners within your complex.

Therefore, it is important for potential owners to understand what the common property is and what the costs will be for maintenance and general upkeep.

Examples of common property range from a shared driveway or letterbox area to communal lifts and stairways, swimming pools, tennis courts, roadways and golf courses.

What are by-laws?

The by-laws are a set of rules for a community titles scheme that regulate various matters including the keeping of animals, noise and parking on common property. The BCCM Act allows a body corporate to adopt standard by-laws set out in the BCCM Act, or to make by-laws that best suit its individual circumstances.

Owners are encouraged to obtain copies of the by-laws to ensure they are familiar with their rights and responsibilities. By-laws are contained in the CMS for a community titles scheme.

The statement is a document held by Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Lands Registry Office. If you are unclear which by-laws apply to your scheme, contact the body corporate secretary or the Lands Registry Office on 1300 255 750.

I have received a Notice of Annual General Meeting. Do I have to attend?

Estimate the necessary and reasonable expenditure for the financial year for maintaining common property and body corporate assets, insurance charges and other costs incurred each year or more frequently.

What is an Annual General Meeting and how often do they occur?

By law, every body corporate must hold an annual general meeting (AGM) each year.

At the AGM, owners consider the financial position and direction of the body corporate. There are two budgets that a body corporate must approve each year: the administrative fund budget and the sinking fund budget.

Other items most likely to be on the AGM agenda are:

  • election of committee members for the next year
  • fees and levies for the year (based on the two budgets mentioned above)
  • renewal of insurance and any additional insurance
  • any motions submitted by owners.
  • Special general meetings (known as extraordinary general meetings) can be held during the year when there are items to be discussed or decided upon as a matter of urgency. Items to be considered could include repairs, disputes or changes to by-laws.

Maintaining common property

It is the responsibility of the body corporate to maintain common property. As common property may include lawns, access roadways, swimming pools, common doors and windows, it is very important for the body corporate to know what type of plan the scheme is recorded as. A scheme recorded as a ‘building format plan’ will have a significantly different area of responsibility than one recorded as a ‘standard format plan’.

Copies of plans may be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Lands Registry Office on 1300 255 750.

The body corporate can engage the services of professionals such as gardeners and pool cleaners to carry out maintenance. In some smaller schemes, body corporate members volunteer their own services. Naturally, professional services will involve some costs, and these and other financial matters must be considered by the body corporate at the annual general meeting.

What costs are involved as a body corporate member?

Based on the budgets, the body corporate must determine the contributions (levies) each owner will have to make and when they will be due. The levies are calculated in accordance with the lot entitlement schedules.

There are two lot entitlements schedules (the contribution schedule and the interest schedule), and expenses for maintenance of common property are divided amongst the owners in the same proportion as the contribution schedule lot entitlements.

While expenses for common property maintenance are calculated using the contribution schedule lot entitlements, insurance is an expense that is treated differently and will depend on the type of plan of subdivision applying to the scheme (that is, ‘building format plan’ or ‘standard format plan’).

For more information on insurance, visit the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management (BCCM Office) www.qld.gov.au/bodycorporate.

Lot entitlements are determined by the original owner (the developer) when preparing the first community management statement (CMS) for the scheme. Copies of the CMS for each community titles scheme can be accessed from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Lands Registry Office on 1300 255 750.

All individual lot owners are legally obligated to maintain their own property in good condition. If the lot is not kept in a clean and tidy condition and can be seen from another lot or the common property, the body corporate may have the right to proceed with any repairs or maintenance at the owner’s cost.

What is covered by the Body Corporate Insurance and do I need to have my own insurance?

The Body Corporate insures the building for full replacement value. A building is defined by most insurers as including fixtures and structural improvements to lots other than Floating Floors.

The Building typically does not include Lot Owners contents or personal property or temporary wall, floor and ceiling coverings within a lot or mobile or fixed air-conditioning units servicing and individual lot.

For this reason, it is recommended that owners take out appropriate contents insurance for their circumstances.

For more detailed information on what is and isn’t covered at your scheme, please contact your Body Corporate Manager.