Who’s Who in Your Body Corporate

If you own or live in an apartment or townhouse most likely you will have a body corporate manager. You may also have a Property Manager as well as a Building Manager. These are terms and roles which may sound similar but are completely different.

Apartment owners and residents are often unclear about who is responsible for what. This confusion about the roles and responsibilities in a body corporate community can be the cause of many disputes between stakeholders.

The difference between a Body Corporate Manager, a Property Manager and a Building Manager is quite significant and it’s essential to understand each party’s role and responsibilities, when it comes to managing your body corporate community.

There are many people involved in strata management, regardless of how big or small your strata property may be. Each person, group and professional service provider involved needs to engage in a significant amount of work to keep a strata property running like clockwork.

So, if you’re an apartment owner or renter read our complete guide to who’s who in your body corporate community.

The Body Corporate Itself

In a nutshell – the body corporate is the legal entity that represents and acts for all the individual owners in a strata property.

When you purchase a lot in an apartment complex you automatically become a member of the body corporate.

The role of a body corporate in Queensland is to administer common property and body corporate assets for the benefit of all the owners, and to undertake functions like

  • maintaining, managing and controlling common property on behalf of owners;
  • deciding the amounts to be paid by owners to ensure the body corporate can function properly;
  • making and enforcing its community’s rules called by-laws;
  • organising insurance policies on behalf of owners
  • managing and controlling body corporate assets;
  • keeping records for the body corporate

The body corporate makes decisions about these and other things at general meetings and through the committee.

For more information check out our blog post – What is a Body Corporate?

The Committee

The committee are elected representatives of the owners. The committee of the body corporate represents owners or owners’ nominees and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the strata scheme.

The body corporate must elect a committee at each annual general meeting. The committee is made up of lot owners or people who act for them. Most committees must have a minimum of 3 members (Schemes under the Small or Specified two lot regulation modules are different) – Click here for more information on regulation modules.

The three executive positions in a committee are the Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. A single person may hold all or any 2 executive positions (however, this doesn’t change the minimum number of members required).

The committee oversees:

  • 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.

If the body corporate has engaged a body corporate manager, it may authorise the manager to carry out some or all the powers of the committee.

For more information check out our blog post – What is the Body Corporate Committee ?

Body Corporate Manager (Strata Manager)

A Body Corporate Manager (also called strata manager) is a normally a company appointed by the owners (Body Corporate) of the scheme to perform some or all of the legislative duties of the body corporate.

A Body Corporate Manager will work for the collective interest of all owners and provide objective advice and guidance for matters like legislative compliance and financial administration.

A Body Corporate Manager is expected to have a solid grounding in legislation, industry practices, and body corporate operations. Larger companies have dedicated accounting and bookkeeping staff to manage the financial affairs of body corporates.

What does a Body Corporate Manager do?

Body Corporate Managers are involved in coordinating the affairs of lot owners including conducting meetings, collecting and banking levies, advising on asset management, arranging insurance valuations, managing insurance claims and keeping financial accounts.

They provide an objective role in managing any disagreements that may arise between parties and work to minimise any conflicts of interest, to achieve consensus in decision making by owners, and otherwise assist the lot owners by assuming essential responsibilities.

Crucially, they work to keep the building or complex compliant in terms of legislation and insurance coverage.

The Body Corporate Manager Is Not In Charge

Some people believe by appointing a manager they’re appointing someone to run the “business” for them, but that’s simply not the case.

Although the Body Corporate Manager is appointed to undertake certain tasks of the executive committee, they do so on the committee’s authority, never on their own authority.

That’s because Body Corporate Managers’ do not make decisions. Instead, they will refer correspondence and decision making to the committee.

For more information check out our blog post – What is Body Corporate Manager?

 

The Building Manager

A building manager is sometimes referred to as a caretaker, facilities manager, or resident manager and can be appointed by the developer or body corporate to look after the day-to-day operational management of the building or complex and its facilities.

They liaise with tenants and owners, coordinate and manage maintenance, housekeeping, and security activities, and ensure the facilities meet regulatory standards and codes.

Building Managers are often onsite with a dedicated office in the building whereas the Body Corporate Manager is located offsite.

While they can often work closely with each other, building managers and body corporate managers are separate entities that are not affiliated.

Building Managers provide offerings such as security, cleaning and property maintenance and undertake day-to-day administrative tasks, policing by-laws and issuing keys to new occupants or holiday renters. Building Managers will often also act as Property Manager.

Building Manager Responsibilities:

  • Coordinating and overseeing regular building maintenance and repairs.
  • Managing and directing cleaning/security staff and activities.
  • Preparing and carrying out emergency protocols and procedures.
  • Maintaining a safe environment for building occupants and visitors.
  • Preparing and monitoring maintenance budgets.
  • Negotiating and liaising with third-party service providers.
  • Conducting regular building inspections and preparing reports.
  • Ensuring facilities are in compliance with applicable policies, regulations, and building codes.

Responding to inquiries and requests by building residents and resolving any problems or issues relating to bodies corporate.

While they can often work closely with each other, building managers and body corporate managers are separate entities that legally, may not be affiliated.

The Property Manager

Another role which people often gets confused with a body corporate manager.

Property managers normally work in real estate agencies and acting as a middleman between a tenant and a landlord managing residential tenancies.

In contrast to a body corporate manager that helps manage the entire building or complex on behalf of all owners, a Property Manager manages an individual lot (i.e. an apartment or townhouse) on behalf of an individual owner.

Property managers are engaged by individual owners, and can be outside agents or in many cases the building manager has a separate agreement with the body corporate, allowing them to run a letting business within the scheme.

Their role includes:

  • finding suitable tenants
  • arranging leases
  • inspecting the condition of the property
  • receiving rent
  • managing repairs and for arranging maintenance (that are not body corporate responsibilities)

Property Managers act as a liaison between the tenant and the owner, so if the tenant wants to ask permission to make any changes to the property, they can let the Property Manager know, who would then pass on their request to the landlord.

Most repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of individual owners and tenants. Repairs and maintenance that is needed to common property will need to be brought to the attention of the Building manager or the body corporate.

Body Corporate Managers, Committees, Property Managers and Building Managers, all have an important role to play within a body corporate community.

With more Queenslanders than ever before living and owning apartments it is vital that all stakeholders involved in a body corporate have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of different types of managers.

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