What is an owners corporation?
An Owners Corporation (formerly known as a body corporate) manages the common property of a development.
You are likely to be a member of an Owners Corporation if you own a flat, apartment or unit. Your ‘body corporate’ became an Owners Corporation on 31 December 2007, when the Owners Corporations Act 2006 came into force. This law sets out the duties and powers of owners corporations.
An Owners Corporation is needed to be created when a plan of subdivision containing common property is registered at Land Victoria. Land Victoria registers and records owners corporation applications received either with a plan of subdivision, or lodged following registration of the plan of subdivision.
The lot you are considering buying is part of an owners corporation. Whenever a plan of subdivision creates common property, an owners corporation is responsible for managing the common property.A purchaser of a lot that is part of an owners corporation automatically becomes a member of the owners corporation when the transfer of that lot to the purchaser has been registered with Land Victoria.
If you buy into an owners corporation, you will be purchasing not only the individual property, but also ownership of, and the right to use, the common property as set out in the plan of subdivision. This common property may include driveways, stairs, paths, passages, lifts, lobbies, common garden areas and other facilities set up for use by owners and occupiers. In order to identify the boundary between the individual lot you are purchasing (for which the owner is solely responsible) and the common property (for which all members of the owners corporation are responsible), you should closely inspect the plan of subdivision.
How are decisions made by an owners corporation?
As an owner, you will be required to make financial contributions to the owners corporation, in particular for the repair, maintenance and management of the common property. Decisions as to the management of this common property will be the subject of collective decision making. Decisions as to these financial contributions, which may involve significant expenditure, will be decided by a vote.
What are owners corporation rules?
The owners corporation rules may deal with matters such as car parking, noise, pets, the appearance or use of lots, behaviour of owners, occupiers or guests and grievance procedures.
You should look at the owners corporation rules to consider any restrictions imposed by the rules.
What is common property?
Common property may include gardens, passages, walls, stairwells, pathways, driveways, lifts, foyers and fences. The Owners Corporation is responsible for management and administration of repairs and maintenance for the common property.
What is lot entitlement and lot liability?
The plan of subdivision will also show your lot entitlement and lot liability. Lot liability represents the share of owners corporation expenses that each lot owner is required to pay.
Lot entitlement is an owner’s share of ownership of the common property, which determines voting rights. You should make sure that the allocation of lot liability and entitlement for the lot you are considering buying seems fair and reasonable.
Who can manage an owners corporation?
An owners corporation may be self-‐managed by the lot owners or professionally managed by an owners corporation manager. If an owners corporation chooses to appoint a professional manager, it must be a manager registered with the Business Licensing Authority (BLA).
If you are uncertain about any aspect of the owners corporation or the documents you have received from the owners corporation, you should seek expert advice.
If you are interested in finding out more about living in an owners corporation, you can contact Consumer Affairs Victoria. If you require further information about the particular owners corporation you are buying into you can inspect that owners corporation’s information register.