What is a body corporate (strata) search/report and how important is it to organise one before committing to a purchase?
Basically, body corporate (also known as strata) reports provide details of all aspects of your prospective purchase of a unit/apartment that is part of a body corporate/strata scheme. This should include information on levies, by-laws and lot entitlements, details of body corporate funds held for short and long term maintenance and minutes of meetings which might point to future costs incurred in the building in which you are about to invest. It is vital that you familiarise yourself with these before committing to any purchase to avoid nasty surprises in the future.
Property & Co can conduct a thorough search of the body corporate records for your building and provide a comprehensive report to you to ensure you are fully informed prior to purchase. Just click on Request a Search/Report and fill out the form to request a report directly from us. We also do this type of search via conveyancing agents.
What is a body corporate committee?
The administration of a body corporate (within a building complex) may be undertaken on behalf of all the lot owners by a committee. This consists of a group of owners elected at each Annual General Meeting who represent all the lot owners of the body corporate scheme. The committee is charged with making decisions on all matters which confront the body corporate. These include the control, maintenance and repair of the common property and whether a termite inspection has occurred. The committee also has the responsibility of enforcing the bylaws, and can make new ones.
What are body corporate bylaws?
By-laws are a set of rules that a body corporate makes to control and manage: the common property, body corporate assets services and facilities provided by the body corporate; and the use of lots. A body corporate can choose to adopt the standard by-laws that are set out in Schedule 4 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act1997 (QLD) or it can develop its own.
How can body corporate committees or lot owners get advice about body corporate title matters?
Firstly, ask an experienced committee member who may have already been across specific subjects before. You can also consult the by-laws for the building or the Body Corporate & Community Management Act (Qld) 1997for more general information. The strata/body corporate manager can provide some guidance on matters.
If you or your body corporate committee need some advice on self-management (where the committee manages its own affairs), review of existing arrangements, help with sinking and administration fund forecasts, or just want to have a chat about matters body corporate, please give Property & Co a call or email us, we are happy to help!!
What does a strata/body corporate manager do?
The body corporate scheme’s body corporate committee engages body corporate managers to manage the day-to-day affairs of the scheme. Body corporate schemes are becoming larger and more complex. Body corporate managers provide services and advice on:
- Financial management
- Clerical and administrative support and follow up
- Ad hoc maintenance and contract support
- Ensure requirements of the relevant legislation are met
- Advise on the legal requirements concerning the operation of the body corporate scheme.
The role varies depending on the size and type of property and involves people management, requires someone who is organised and can handle difficult situations from time-to-time.
How do I choose a strata/body corporate manager?
The first thing to establish is whether the body corporate manager has a good working knowledge of the relevant legislation. A lot of body corporate schemes choose their body corporate manager based on price which is not always the best way of choosing. If the building is going to be complex then it may be best to consider a professional manager. Be aware there may be hidden costs such as charges for stationery and engaging maintenance contractors so it's always best to check this out too.
Property & Co can help you choose a suitable body corporate manager by assessing your building needs and independently recommending appropriate options. Call or email us to discuss how best we can help.
What is the benefit of having a professional strata/body corporate manager?
The legislation governing body corporate schemes and the compliance requirements are quite complex. Self-managed body corporate schemes are expected to perform the role of a property manager, with the expertise of a solicitor, valuer, insurance broker and accountant. In addition, body corporates are well advised to make short and long term plans for ongoing, periodic, routine, and urgent maintenance management. For busy owners, getting to grips with all this can be daunting. Therefore putting all of this in the hands of professionals can relieve the stress and time required to manage body corporate matters.
What is the benefit of self-managing your body corporate scheme?
Some smaller buildings with engaged owners may be best placed to self-manage with a bit of good advice and structure provided by experts such as Property & Co. Self-managing helps to provide savings on body corporate administration costs to owners and can be more efficient in terms of decision-making and actioning maintenance activities. Give us a call to find out more about what is involved in self-managing your body corporate matters.
How do I evaluate a strata/body corporate manager's performance?
Ask whether your body corporate manager is providing a proactive service delivery. Are they professional? Do they act in a timely manner? Do they provide the level of care you expected?
If the answers are no, then contact Property & Co to assist you to find a solution or to help structure a self-managed solution. Also refer to our Body Corporate Health Check Questionnaire to help you determine if your body corporate scheme is in good shape.
I’m not happy with our strata/body corporate manager. What do I do?
If you’re not on the committee, you can voice your concern at the Annual General Meeting, or do so in writing to the Chairperson of the committee. However, your first step should be to talk to the body corporate manager themselves to explain your concerns, which may arise out of a simple misunderstanding.
If you’re a member of the committee, you can also discuss the matter with your fellow members and establish consensus regarding the performance of the body corporate manager. You can also examine the terms of their contract. It may be that the committee agrees that there has been under-performance, and sets new performance benchmarks, or chooses not to renew the contract.
If you need help with reviewing performance or finding a new body corporate manager give Property & Co a call or email.
Something in our building needs attending to. How do I arrange it?
If your body corporate scheme is self-managed, contact the Chairperson of the committee. If there is no committee, ask the other owners who the go-to person is. If a body corporate manager manages your body corporate scheme, contact them.
However, it’s very important to understand that a body corporate manager only acts on behalf of the committee, and will need to first seek their approval for any action that may need to be performed. If it is a major issue, it will need to be placed as an agenda item for a forthcoming meeting of the committee, before any action can be taken. Occasionally, if the issue is urgent, the committee may agree to a special meeting.
Or, is the problem related to the quality of existing service contractors?
Property & Co have the experience to offer solutions. Perhaps your buildings’ current servicing arrangements can be better structured. Email or call us to find out more.
There are troublesome renters in the building who don’t respect the property or other occupants. What should I do?
Firstly, you should talk to the person/s involved and explain the issue and find a mutual solution. If this doesn’t work, you can contact the letting agent for the property (if you know who it is), or ask the strata/body corporate manager to contact the property owner about the issue. Hopefully, via these channels things can be resolved without excessive conflict and stress for the parties involved.
Property & Co are also in the business of quality property management and we understand how important a respectful and harmonious environment is to both owners and tenants. Check out our webpage for more information or call or email us about our property management services.
Questions and answers on body corporate matters could go on for pages, we suggest you go to the Helpful Information and Resources page to find relevant information on any matters you require answers to, or contact us and we will assist or direct you wherever possible.