FAQ: What is a Body Corporate/Owners Corporation?
Some properties share community space with other homeowners. Townhouse and unit developments, for example, may share gardens, walls, driveways, letterboxes, or fences. When this happens the Body Corporate (also called an “Owners Corporation”) manages these community spaces (also called “common property”).
What is a body corporate?
A body corporate is a legal entity used to manage your community property. You automatically become a member of the Body Corporate if you own property that has common property.
How do I know if my property is affected?
When you purchase any property that includes common property, all details will be included in your contract of sale and your conveyancer should confirm these with you.
Managing common property
Typically, when a body corporate is set up, the members decide to appoint an independent Body Corporate manager. This gives everyone the peace of mind that any “day-to-day” issues are being handled by a team that specialises in managing community assets. The Body Corporate manager looks after the repairs and maintenance to the common property, as well as any queries that you have about neighbours and other community issues. As a member, you vote on what is done, by whom, and who to appoint as the Body Corporate manager.
As a member, you have a responsibility to pay your membership fees, and the Body Corporate has a responsibility to manage all areas of the community property for you. Several factors determine how much your membership fees will be, but all members pay the same amount.
Your contribution fee covers public liability insurance and general maintenance of the common property, and may also include service infrastructure as well as management and other services.
An owners corporation must have insurance for all common property areas.
Some owner corporation fees can also cover building insurance for each property; however, this is not always the case. It is up to each member to check with their Owners Corporation, and it’s a good idea to discuss this with your Body Corporate manager, as there are often savings of 100’s of dollars per property.
Owners corporation insurance does not cover the contents of individual owners’ property. Members should ensure that they have appropriate house contents cover in place.