The New Homeowner’s Guide to Understanding Body Corporate
When you buy your first property there are so many terms you’ll be exposed to that frankly you’ve never heard before. From stamp duty to conveyancing, right through to land titles or even body corporates; understanding what a body corporate is can be complicated and even more confusing when you see fees associated with them. Body corporates play an integral role in the maintenance and management of your property. If you’re a new homeowner and want to learn more about the best body corporate Melbourne companies, then use this simple guide.
What is a body corporate?
A body corporate is most commonly seen in a complex that comprises multiple dwellings, usually units, apartments or townhouses. A body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of all ‘common’ areas on the property. Common areas often include stairways, garden beds, paths and in high rise situations, elevators. This maintenance is carried out on a schedule or when the need arises and is usually done out of sight of many of the residents in the complex. The body corporate company will ensure all residents are aware and up to date on any works which may impact the common areas. It’s not uncommon for a body corporate to set out a set of rules for using these common areas and the residents are usually expected to sign or acknowledge these rules when moving in.
Who manages the body corporate?
The body corporate company is usually assigned by the owner of the land on which the complex is built or by a group of property owners in the complex. The latter is often referred to as the owner’s corporation and in some instances, these owners may choose to carry out the duties of the body corporate. The owners often advise and meet with the body corporate on any issues which need to be addressed. These owners represent the invested parties who have a more significant stake in the upkeep of the comment areas, as opposed to a renter living in the complex. The body corporate will act on the wishes of the owners and ensure standards are met by all residents, both renters and owners alike.
How much does a body corporate charge?
Body corporate fees vary depending on the type of property you live in, the complexity and the number of common areas on the property. If you live in a high rise complex with elevators, pools and gym equipment, then you can expect the fees to be higher than a low rise townhouse complex with not many shared amenities. A body corporate will often manage what is known as a ‘sinking fund’, which is a pot of money set at a monetary value high enough to maintain the property. Each year the pot will need to be replenished and the value is often based on a maintenance schedule. This sinking fund doesn’t mean there won’t be other costs, it simply means routine maintenance will be covered and only emergency repairs will be additional costs.
A body corporate is an essential service in a property with multiple dwellings and common areas. Without a body corporate there would be no intermediary to ensure repairs take place, that the areas are clean or that residents conduct themselves in a manner that is fair to all. Body corporates manage a lot of the day to day of the property and work with owners to ensure the complex is a safe and enjoyable place for all residents. Next time you need to brush up on your body corporate, use this easy guide to get started.
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