Frequently Asked Questions
A quick easy-reference guide to our most frequently asked questions. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, please look at our Industry Contacts section, which may also assist in answering any Strata question.
INTRODUCTION TO BODY CORPORATE
What is a Body Corporate?
A Body Corporate is made up of all of the owners in the same Community Titles Scheme. Each new owner automatically becomes a member. The Body Corporate must act in compliance with the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (the BCCM Act) and regulations. The Body Corporate makes decisions relating to:
- Common property maintenance and management issues
- Determining levies which must be paid to cover operation expenses of the body corporate
- The establishment and enforcement of by-laws relating to the management of lots and common property
- Public risk insurance
- Compulsory building insurance (if applicable)
What is a Community Titles Scheme (CTS)?
A CTS is made up of individually owned lots or units as well as common property. It makes it possible for individual owners of parts of a building to share common areas with other owners. A Community Titles Scheme may consist of duplexes, residential unit blocks, high rise accommodation, shopping centres, business parks or similar.
What is the role of a Body Corporate Manager?
The Body Corporate Manager is engaged by the Body Corporate to supply administrative services to the extent required by the building.
Generally, this means that the Body Corporate Manager is authorised to exercise the duties of the Secretary and Treasurer, though the Body Corporate Manager does not fill these positions on the Committee and does not have a vote on Committee matters.
For most Bodies Corporate, this means that the Body Corporate Manager will be responsible for duties such as:
- Dealing with incoming and outgoing correspondence in consultation with the Committee
- Handling phone calls and questions from Lot Owners
- Liaising with and advising the Committee on matters of legislation and best practice
- Issuing notices for Committee Meetings on the instruction of the Committee
- Issuing notices for General Meetings when approved by the Committee
- Sending levies in accordance with General Meeting resolutions
- Drafting Contravention Notices on behalf of the Committee
- Drafting and distributing minutes of Committee and General Meetings
- Overseeing the Body Corporate bank account
- Making payment on accounts authorised by the Committee
- Monitoring and reviewing all Body Corporate accounts in accordance with required tax auditing standards
The written engagement contract between the Body Corporate Manager and the Body Corporate should outline the extent of the duties the Manager is required to undertake. Like most contracts however, occasionally issues will arise that were not included or anticipated in the scope of the contract. In these cases, some Bodies Corporate may request the Body Corporate Manager carry out duties that are outside of the fixed contract. These duties can incur an additional fee.
What is a Committee?
The Body Corporate must elect a Committee at each annual general meeting. The Committee consists of Executive Members (a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer) and any ordinary members. Depending on the size of the scheme, Committees vary in size from three to seven people. If not enough Body Corporate members are interested in forming a Committee or at least one of the executive positions is not filled, regulations allow a Body Corporate to employ a Body Corporate Manager to carry out the functions of a Committee.
What is the role of a Committee Chairperson?
The Chairperson’s main responsibility is to chair and conduct meetings. The Chairperson’s role is not particularly outlined in the legislation, nor does it come with any executive authority to act on behalf of the Committee. However, The Chairperson is normally appointed the liaison person between the Committee and the Body Corporate Manager. In matters of voting, The Chairperson does not have a casting vote.
At a meeting the Chairperson is responsible for:
- Calling a meeting in the absence of the Secretary
- Opening the meeting
- Declaring whether or not a quorum is present
- Ensuring the agenda is followed and order is kept at all times
- Inviting discussion for and against each item of business
- Dealing and identifying any conflicts of interest between parties present on matters requiring discussion or voting
- Ensuring that restricted matters are not decided by the Committee and that expenditure limits are not exceeded
- Closing the meeting.
At a General Meeting the Chairperson is also required to:
- Know who is eligible to vote
- Rule a motion out of order if required and give reasons why
- Accept written voting papers at the meeting
- Conduct ballots if required
- Declare the results of voting
What is the role of a Committee Secretary?
In most cases the Body Corporate will have a Body Corporate Manager who is authorised to carry out some of the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary, in accordance with their Agreement.
Some of the Secretary’s duties include:
- Keeping the roll of the Body Corporate and other statutory records
- Accepting notices on behalf of the Body Corporate
- Making arrangements for inspections of Body Corporate records
- Issuing certificates on behalf of the Body Corporate
- Calling all General and Committee meetings
- Preparing the meeting agenda and minutes and circulating to all lot owners
- Attending to incoming and outgoing correspondence
- Attending to the renewal of insurance policies
What is the role of a Committee’s Treasurer?
Like the role of the Secretary, the Body Corporate will normally have a Body Corporate Manager who is authorised to carry out some of the duties and responsibilities of the Treasurer.
The Treasurer is generally responsible for all the financial matters of the Body Corporate such as:
- Maintaining the Body Corporate bank account
- Preparing budgets and financial statements
- Authorising invoices for payment
- Calculating and collecting levies on behalf of lot owners
What is the role of an Ordinary Committee Member?
Ordinary Committee Members are appointed by lot owners to help the Executive Committee and are required to attend Committee Meetings.
An Ordinary Committee Member may become ineligible to hold their position under the following scenarios:
- Death of the Member
- Conviction of an indictable offence
- Non-attendance in person or by proxy at two (2) consecutive Committee meetings without the approval of the Committee
- Resignation via written notice to Chairperson or Secretary
- Removal from office by ordinary resolution of the Body Corporate
What is the role of a Non-Voting Committee Member?
Non-Voting Members are automatically elected to the Committee and are defined in the BCCM Act as ether the Body Corporate Manager for the scheme or the caretaking/service contractor for the scheme. Non-Voting Members have the right to attend the meetings but are not included when a quorum is being counted.
The Committee can decide that a Non-Voting Member must be absent at a meeting when the following subjects are being discussed:
- Any disputes between the Body Corporate, any lot owner or occupier and the service contractor/BCM
- The engagement of a service contractor/BCM
- Any other items the Committee consider necessary for the BCM/service contractor not to be in attendance
How does a person nominate for Committee positions?
Nominations are called for each position between three and six weeks prior to the financial year end of the Body Corporate scheme. If nominations are received after the financial year end of the scheme, they are invalid.
However if a vacancy exists at the Annual General Meeting, nominations will be called for from the floor of the meeting. Each Committee position must be called for and lot owners may choose to nominate one person – either themselves, another lot owner (with that owner accepting the nomination), or a family member as defined in the Act. The regulation modules stipulate that the person making a nomination must be financial or must not owe the Body Corporate a debt at the time of the nomination or it becomes invalid. Regulations state that the person and the nominated person must both be financial at the time of nomination and also at the time of the election.
Regulations also state that if an owner owns more than two lots in the same name, they may only nominate a maximum of three people to the Committee if there are more than seven lots in a scheme. If there are less than six lots in a scheme, regardless of the number of lots they own, they may only nominate two people to the Committee.
If during the AGM there is only one nomination received for the positions of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, the nominee will be automatically elected. If more than one nomination is received, the Body Corporate is required to conduct either an open or secret ballot depending on the Module and on what motions (if any) have previously been resolved by the Body Corporate. If nominations are not received for these positions, nominations will be called from the floor.
What is a General Meeting?
All meetings of the Body Corporate are General Meetings except for Committee meetings.
A General Meeting is either an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). An AGM must be called and held within 3 months after the end of each of the scheme’s financial year, the exception is the first AGM.
How is a General Meeting called?
A General Meeting may be called by the following persons:
- The Secretary
- Another member of the Committee
- A person authorized or required to call a General Meeting by an order of an adjudicator acting under the dispute resolution provisions.
Regulations provide that the Secretary or other member of the Committee (including a Non-Voting Member) may call a General Meeting upon the Committee passing a resolution directing that member to do so.
How do I submit an Agenda Item?
A motion for consideration at a General Meeting may be submitted at any time by a member of the Body Corporate or the Committee. A motion submitted by a member of the Body Corporate may be included on the agenda for an AGM only if the Secretary receives the motion before the end of the Body Corporate’s financial year immediately preceding the meeting.
When the notice for the AGM is forwarded to the Body Corporate calling for nominations for the Committee positions, it must also include an opportunity to submit motions for inclusion on the agenda for the meeting.
As a lot owner, am I entitled to attend Committee meetings?
Yes. However, you are not permitted to cast a vote at the meeting. The Committee and lot owner must also follow these rules:
1. The owner must give a minimum of 24 hours notice in writing to the body corporate Secretary that they want toattend (this can be given to the Body Corporate Manager)
2. The owner can only speak if invited to speak by the Committee. An invitation to speak can be revoked at any time and the person directed to leave if they speak without an invitation.
3. The owner must not be present if the Committee discusses any of the following matters:
(a) a breach of the by-laws for the Community Titles Scheme;
(b) starting a proceeding, if the decision to start the proceeding is not a decision on a restricted issue for the Committee;
(c) a proceeding against the Body Corporate;
(d) a dispute between the Body Corporate and – (i) the owner or occupier of a lot included in the scheme; or (ii) a Body Corporate Manager; or (iii) a caretaking service contractor.
(e) a vote taken by the Committee on the item of business the person may be subject to
How can I vote at general meetings?
The legislation prescribes how a voter may vote at a general meeting. If you are a voter, you can vote in person, via voting paper or online by following the instructions issued with the notice of meeting you have received. At Archers we encourage online voting and remote attendance when it is not practical to attend meetings personally and have put together the following How to Vote Online Guide and StrataVote remote attendance User Guide also included in notice of meetings when you elect to receive notices via email. To update your notice preferences to email, simply complete our online form here. For detailed information please see the following document: How to vote online – AGM
What is common property?
It is the responsibility of the Body Corporate to maintain common property. Common property may include lawns, access roadways, swimming pools, common doors and windows. A scheme recorded as a ‘building format plan’ will have a slightly different area of responsibility for common property than one recorded as a ‘standard format plan’. Copies of the plan for your building may be obtained from the Land Title Registry of the Department of Environment and Resource Management on 07 3227 6626.
The Body Corporate can engage the services of professionals such as gardeners and pool cleaners to carry out maintenance of common property. In some smaller schemes, Body Corporate members volunteer their own services. Naturally, professional services will involve some costs and these and other financial matters must be considered at the Annual General Meeting.
What is the role of a Building Manager?
Under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (The Act), a Building Manager is classified as a service contractor and is subject to the requirements of The Act for such persons.
The Building Manager’s role is to carry out the Body Corporate’s duties in connection with the management of common property, as defined in The Act and outlined in survey plans. Building Managers help meet an important requirement in The Act, being that a Body Corporate “must maintain common property in good condition”.
To undertake this role, the Building Manager must:
- Be completely familiar with as-built plans, with all machinery and with existing maintenance contracts with other contractors.
- Where appropriate, have maintenance contracts in place for such things as lifts, sump pumps, garage doors, fire systems, and ensure that these contracts are being fulfilled.
- Advise the Body Corporate Committee on items requiring attention on common property.
- Ensure that all duties contained within the Building Manager’s contract are carried out.
What are Body Corporate insurance obligations?
What are the three main pieces of legislation that cover Fire Safety in Queensland?
The Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008, the Building Code of Australia, and the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990.
What classes of buildings are affected by Fire Safety legislation?
All Class 2 to Class 9 buildings.
What is the difference between Low Occupancy and High Occupancy buildings?
A Low Occupancy Building is one which is less than 25 meters in height.
A High Occupancy Building is defined by the Queensland Building Fire Safety Regulations 2008 as one of the following:
- A class two or 3 building more than 25m high
- A class 2, 5, 6, 7b, 8, 9a, or 9b building that is a workplace – (i) prescribed under the Workplace Health & Safety Regulations 2008 , section 56; and (ii) where 30 or more workers are normally employed within the meaning of the Workplace Health & Safety Act 1995, section 93(5)
- A class 6 or 9b building that the commissioner has decided is an “at risk” licensed building under section 104KD of the Fire Service Act
What is a Certificate of Classification and how may it be obtained?
A Certificate of Classification describes the way in which a building can be used. Examples are Residential, Commercial and Holiday Accommodation. To obtain a Certificate of Classification, the building must be complete, and inclusive of all electrical, mechanical and hydraulic services which must be installed and operational.
A Certificate of Classification can be obtained from the building certifier who approves and inspects the building work or from your local government.