If your investment property is an apartment or unit, body corporate fees are one of your ongoing expenses. In newer developments, these fees will often be higher to cover the maintenance of luxury amenities such as pools and gyms. But the modern luxuries aren’t the only things that a body corporate will pay for in a building. Keep reading for an overview of who’s responsible for the various expenses in apartment blocks and residential strata units.
The easiest way to understand what is your responsibility and what is the body corporate’s responsibility is by knowing what is and isn’t common property. An owner’s corporation manages all common property. This may include stairs, pathways, elevators, lobbies, mailrooms, and outdoor terraces or barbecue areas. If you’re unsure exactly what’s your responsibility, the best way to check is by looking at your property’s title documents.
A body corporate is responsible for repairing damage to communal areas. Not every job needs to go to a committee vote, as funds are budgeted annually for maintenance and repairs. And if the damage poses a safety threat, such as paving lifting on a path, it will be repaired quickly.
Windows can be contentious
In some buildings, windows are classified as common property, while in others, it’s on the owner’s individual title. Ideally, when you buy your property, you should be checking where the body corporate’s responsibility ends. This is particularly important in older buildings where wooden windows require regular maintenance. A scenario where windows may be the body corporate’s responsibility is when windows make up part of the façade.
Major building works
As you likely know, part of your body corporate fees goes into the sinking fund. This fund is used for medium- to long-term maintenance works. Major works may include addressing structural cracks, fencing, and replacing safety items such as balcony balustrades.
If a resident is constantly making noise, such as working with power tools late into the evening or having parties until 3am, the body corporate will likely discuss this at the next meeting. However, for an immediate response, it’s best to contact your property manager, the local council, or the police.
The rule of thumb when it comes to what a body corporate is responsible for is knowing what is and isn’t common property. Whether you’ve already purchased your property or you’re looking at a unit or apartment, make sure you understand what you’re responsible for and how the body corporate plans for long-term repairs and maintenance. This little bit of research can save you time and money down the track, so it’s a worthwhile exercise. And if you have questions, make sure you ask the sales agent or contact the body corporate directly if you already own in a building.
Remember, this article does not constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your professional financial and legal advisors before making any decisions for yourself.