Body corporate frequently asked questions
Are strata title bodies corporate of wholly residential strata schemes covered by the Work health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act and Regulations?
No, unless they directly employ a worker. Under the WHS Laws, duties apply to persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). Strata title bodies corporate are however exempt from coverage if:
- they do not engage any workers as employees, and
- the common areas the body corporate is responsible for are used only for residential purposes.
Find more on NTWorkSafe
Who is qualified to be on a body corporate committee?
A property owner. In the event a property is owned by two parties only one can be elected to the committee. In the event the property is owned by a company or corporation the entity can nominate an individual to represent them who may then be elected to the committee.
How many members can be on a body corporate committee?
The committee can be made up of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 7 members.
If a tenant causes damage to the common property, why should the owner be penalised? Surely the tenant is responsible for his own actions?
We have been putting this motion in place in all our properties. We as your body corporate managers have no relationship or legal agreement with the building tenants. In most cases we don’t even have their contact details. In the event a tenant causes damage to the common property and there is a witness to this then this motion will allow us to pass the information onto the owner or their agent who in turn can through the tenancy agreement or court if necessary, to take action against the person responsible.
It is not the intention to victimise owners, however where it is clearly the actions of a tenant would have cost the body corporate money, then it is the owners or the agent’s responsibility to assist where ever possible in obtaining reimbursement.
What is body corporate responsibility for air-conditioning units and maintenance?
It is the apartment owners’ responsibility to ensure the air conditioning systems are maintained, cleaned and regularly serviced. Some occupants have blockages, drains overflowing and freezing up due to the incorrect use or lack of maintenance to the systems resulting in excess moisture and ceiling plaster damage.
What's our policy on damage caused to common property by owners or their tenants?
Damage caused to the common property or costs incurred by the body corporate as a result of owners or their tenants actions should, where ever possible, be passed onto the party responsible. The body corporate manager has no authority to collect a cost as a result of tenant’s actions without legal action which in the majority of cases is not practical.
North Management NT recommends that all body corporate adopts the following resolution: “The resolution that owners will be responsible for any damage or costs incurred by the body corporate to the common property due to the owners actions or the actions of their tenants”.
Do all body corporate’s financial end of year end at the same time, say 30th June?
No, each Body Corporate’s financial end of year is set when the unit titles are issued for a new building. This means AGM meetings are spread throughout the year.
What is the "Sinking Fund"?
The Sinking Fund is to cover expenses as set down in the budget for the long term maintenance of the Corporation’s assets e.g.: painting, driveway repair, roof repairs etc. As per the Administration Fund levies, Sinking Fund levies are also payable by all property owners in accordance with their designated unit or lot entitlement value.
What is the "Administration Fund"?
The Administration Fund is to cover expenses of a ‘day to day’ nature, as set down in the budget for a twelve month period and payable by each owner in accordance with designated unit or lot entitlements.
How are unit or lot entitlements calculated?
Unit or lot entitlements are calculated on the proportionate Lot values prepared by a valuer on behalf of the developer at the time of the issue of the titles of the various Lots.
How are the “Notice of Contribution” or Levies calculated?
Notice of Contribution or Levies are calculated based on the budgets set at the Annual General Meeting and applied based on the unit, lot or contribution entitlement of the individual members.
What do you need to do to comply?
If your strata scheme is a PCBU then a safety report from a reputable company can help meet your obligations. Compliance Reports should include:
- Inspection of the common property and provide a report that clearly identifies hazards
- Assessment of the risks that may result from those hazards
- Recommendations to manage the risk Contractors Safe Working Agreement; which is required under the Work Health and Safety Compliance Report Update Schedule
- Implementation Plan Property Profile (Site information for workers)
- Job Safety Analysis Worksheets
What obligations does the Strata Scheme have under the Work health and Safety act?
Under the Work Health and Safety Act if your strata scheme is a ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBU) you will have obligations to ensure health and safety for the common property.
What are the By-laws set down in Schedule 2. By-laws; Unit Title Schemes Act (NT) 2010?
We've provided a complete run down of the By-laws on our blog.
What is the Home Building Certification Fund?
The Home Building Certification Fund is administered by TIO. It is to cover property which does not comply with NT Building Certification. The Home Building Certification Fund only covers dwellings up to three storeys with a 10 year ‘cut off’ period from date of the building’s completion.
What is insurance premium funding of insurance?
Premium funding is a short term loan that allows the body corporate to pay their insurance premiums and associated charges by monthly direct debit over an agreed period (typically 6-12 months).
Can a tenant get access to body corporate information or request maintenance or keys etc?
Tenants have no direct relationship with the body corporate manager. North Management NT acts on behalf of owner/members or their delegated property manager. Tenants must make all requests via their property manager or owner.
Are there House Rules set down in the Unit Titles Act?
In July 2009 a new Act was created called the Unit Titles Schemes Act (2009). This new act applies to new body corporate’s formed after the act came into place on 1st July 2009. Contained in this act is “Schedule 2. By-laws” a copy of which can be viewed in our Member Resources.
North Management recommends that existing body corporate’s adopt this Schedule 2. By Laws as they are simple concise and set out the fundamental needs for unit owners and their managers. As these By Laws are legislated the body corporate would be very likely to obtain a favourable judgement against a party who had contravened these By Laws. This is subject to the violation being proved with accurate documentation.
Are shade sails covered by the body corporate’s insurance?
Shade sails are not usually covered under the body corporate insurance. If they are it is usually on the basis that they are taken down when a cyclone warning is issued. Privately owned shade sales situated in owners private back yards are not covered by the body corporate’s insurance.
What does Body Corporate Property Insurance cover?
The body corporate property insurance covers the common property of the building. This includes the roof, the exterior walls, plumbing and electrical services up to the individual units meter box. Policies can vary as to internal fixtures but generally items such as fixed shower screens are covered.
Most policies include an excess which may make small claims unviable. Generally where an individual makes a claim on the body corporate policy the excess is to be paid by the individual making the claim.
What Insurance must a Body Corporate have?
The Body Corporate must have;
- Property Insurance – Building & Common Contents Cover against physical loss or damage to your building and the common contents. The sums insured that you select must be sufficient to allow for the cost of reinstating your building and replacing your common contents on a new for old basis. Note: Common Contents means the furniture, furnishings, plant & equipment which is common property of the Body Corporate (such as pool or BBQ area equipment and contents in the foyers etc).
- Legal Liability Insurance – Covers for claims for compensation or expenses that you become legally liable to pay in respect of a personal injury or property damage as a result of an occurrence in connection with the ownership of the property.
Can a committee member be removed from the committee of a Body Corporate?
Yes, under section 9 of the Unit Titles Scheme (Management Modules) Regulations a committee can remove a committee member for breach of code. A copy of code of conduct can be found in section 77 of the Act.
Can a General or Annual General Meeting be held without a quorum and are the resolutions binding?
If there is no quorum present at the general meeting, the meeting may take place but all resolutions made at the meeting are interim resolutions. Interim resolution may only be made under this clause on a motion that may be passed by an ordinary resolution.
The secretary of the body corporate must give the details of each interim resolution and the minutes of the meeting to each person with a right to vote at the meeting within 14 working days after the meeting. If an interim resolution is made at the meeting, a person may call a further general meeting within 29 working days after the date of the interim resolution. An interim resolution becomes a resolution of the body corporate if no further meetings are held 29 working days after the date of the interim resolution.
How do you calculate if a quorum is present at a meeting?
A Quorum at general meeting or AGM exists if persons (or their proxies) who together have the right to vote in relation to at least 50% of the total interest entitlements of the scheme are present at the meeting.
Is it possible to reserve Body Corporate and Scheme Name?
From 1 January 2010 section 54C of the Land Title Act will allow for the Reservation of a Body Corporate Name and Reservation of a Scheme Name. New Forms numbered 116 to 121 have been created to allow for reservation, extension and withdrawal of reservations.
Can a body corporate charge interest on the late payment of levies?
Under section 52 of the Unit Titles Schemes (Management Modules) Regulations which now apply to both the existing Unit Titles Act and the new Unit Titles Schemes Act Clause;
52 Interest on late payment
(1) The body corporate may charge interest for the late payment of contributions and special levies.
(2) The interest rate is:
(a) an amount, decided by the body corporate, not more than the rate fixed from time to time for section 85 of the Supreme Court Act; or
(b) if the body corporate does not decide an amount – the rate fixed from time to time for section 85 of the Supreme Court Act.
(3) The body corporate may decide to waive the interest in a particular case.
Can a person be given a special privilege relating to common property?
Yes, a person can be given a special privilege relating to common property if authorised by unanimous resolution provided special privilege is not a lease.
What is common property?
Parts of the complex not within a unit as defined by the units plan. Common property can include lawns, gardens, driveways, garbage storage areas, stairs and infrastructure such as pipes and wiring.
What insurance does the body corporate not cover?
Unit owners must insure their own property contents. The public liability insurance for the body corporate does not cover inside private units.
What is the role of the body corporate manager?
The body corporate manager’s role is primarily one of administering the body corporate. That is sending out levy accounts, collecting the fees, maintaining the bank account, paying the bills and conducting the AGM. The manager is required to carry out their duties in accordance with the unit titles act.
The management agreement sets out more specific functions to be carried out by the manager and is negotiated with the members or by delegation to the committee.
What is the job of the chairperson?
The chairperson is the spokesperson for the members. The chairman has the authority to make certain decisions. This authority is set down in the legislation and may be added by the members through the process of meetings and the passing of resolutions.
What is the body corporate’s function and responsibility?
The body corporate is set up to manage and maintain the common property of a strata development or more simply a block of units. Building Management Corporations or Management Corporations are larger forms of Body Corporate’s.