Hello, Elisha here from OMB, Solicitors. Congratulations, you just bought into a body corporate. Now I’m going to tell you five things that you need to know about living in community and in Strata.
Firstly, who are the key stakeholders? Who do you need to know? What are the contact details you need to be aware of? So in a body corporate, there are a lot of key players. I like to say, whose who in the zoo? So there’s lot owners, occupiers, on-site managers, your strata managers, and other service contractors.
What I like to say is a body corporate is a little bit like a company, you have all the shareholders who are the owners or the occupiers. You then have directors who are your committee members who make the decisions on behalf of the Body Corporate, and then you have the overarching company, which is the Body Corporate.
Now it’s important for you to understand who are these key players because you will often need to refer to the committee or your strata manager or potentially the on site manager throughout your course of community living.
Now, number two, now it’s super important now that you’ve moved into your unit to ensure that the body corporate is informed of the correct details on the Body Corporate role.
So when you settled your conveyance, your solicitor would have provided to the Body Corporate what’s called a Form 8 in Queensland and a Section 22 notice in New South Wales. This form includes all of your contact information and importantly, where you’re levy notices need to be sent.
Now it is essential that you receive these levy notices and you receive the documentation from the Body Corporate so you can keep informed as to what you need to know about your levies and also what’s happening in your scheme.
So as soon as you move in, make sure you double-check your details are correct on the body corporate role, and if that information needs to be adjusted, then contact your body corporate manager to update.
Number three, so in a body corporate, we have this thing called bylaws.Now these are the rules and regulations surrounding how you need to utilise common property facilities, whether or not you need to do renovations. It essentially is a document containing all of the rules of the Body Corporate.
When you move in, it is really important to obtain a copy of those bylaws if you haven’t already got a copy and have a read through to see what those rules are.
There’s nothing worse than moving into a unit and then being surprised that there’s certain regulations regarding pets, there’s certain rules regarding use of facilities and it’s always important to ensure that you are aware of that information and those key rules so that you can live harmoniously within your body corporate.
Number four, repair and maintenance. So what happens if you have a leaky tap within your unit or perhaps the gutters outside of your unit are leaking? Who do you notify? What do you do? Do you engage your own plumber or your own service contractor to assist you with those repairs? Or do you contact the body corporate?
Now, with the body corporate, there are different repair and maintenance obligations depending on the type of scheme you’re registered in. For example, a building format plan is a situation where you own essentially the paint inwards.
Whereas if you’re registered on a standard format plan, you may well be required to repair and maintain the external features of your lot. It really depends on the nature of the plan that you’re registered under.
If you need to know information about what you are and are not responsible for in terms of repair and maintenance, it’s best to contact your body corporate manager to get some clarification on that point.
Number five, voting at your body corporate. Now, there’s two meetings that are held within your body corporate. There are committee meetings and there are also annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings.
They’re classified as your general meetings, and they usually only ever occur once a year, whereas your committee meetings can be quite regular. Now, if you would like to make decisions about your body corporate and be involved in essentially as a director of that company, then it’s really recommended that you get on that committee and you nominate at the next general meeting.
Because as a committee member, you are able to assist in the day to day management of the scheme, you’re able to deal with repair and maintenance queries. You can deal with lot owner correspondence.
You can also assist the body corporate with issues such as insurance, dispute resolution and those sorts of things. When you have a committee that are active and are passionate about the best interests of the body corporate, you are always bound to have a better functioning and better body corporate for all of the lot owners to enjoy.
So it’s recommended when you do receive your notices for meetings, so that’s a notice and agenda for an annual general meeting, that you read it and you make sure you vote because it’s important that you have a say as to how that building should be managed, and don’t be afraid to put your hand up to nominate on the committee.
There are a lot of excellent buildings out there with very well run committees, and it is a important aspect of body corporate management, is the operation and role of the committee.
So my recommendation to you is take on board those five tips I’ve just provided to you today, because ultimately that’s going to assist you in understanding your roles and obligations as a lot owner and also how you can live in your community harmoniously and in the best interests of the body corporate.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at OMB Solicitors.