An Owner’s Corporation (formerly Body Corporate) is a committee, which manages subdivided properties, such as units, apartments or flats. The committee is responsible for common property such as gardens, stairwells and driveways.
As an owner you automatically become a member of the owners corporation if common property affects your lot. This comes with certain responsibilities such as:
- Attending meetings or appointing a person who can attend on your behalf
- Paying owners corporation fees
- Ensuring that the committee adequately maintains common property and carries out repairs when required
- Taking out and maintaining the necessary insurance
- Raising fees from other owners for the administrate and future capital needs
- Record keeping
- Preparing financial statements
If a plan of subdivision containing common areas is registered with Land Victoria, an owners corporation will automatically come into existence.
Multiple owners corporation are common in large subdivisions where certain lot owners only require the use of certain common areas. By having multiple committees in place, owners can be certain that they are only responsible for the areas that affect their lot. For example, multiple committees are likely to exist in a property containing multiple laundry areas. Provided, of course, that each lot owner only has access to one of them. These committees are known as ‘limited owners corporations’ given their limitations of power and obligations. It is not necessary for you to be a member of a committee if common property does not affect your lot.
Where the property is a two-lot subdivision, the owners corporation is exempt from many obligations such as financial reporting, insurance requirements, annual meetings or maintenance funds.