Do I have to be part of an Owners Corporation?
If you own a property affected by an Owners Corporation then you automatically become a member of that Owners Corporation. Flat, apartments, units, townhouses and commercial estates generally involve an Owners Corporation and owners of such property are usually members of an Owners Corporation, previously known as a ‘Body Corporate’. All Bodies Corporate became known as Owners Corporations on 31 December 2007, when the Owners Corporations Act 2006 came into force. This law sets out the duties and powers of Owners Corporations.
An Owners Corporation is automatically created when a plan of subdivision containing common property is registered with Land Victoria. Examples of common property may include gardens, swimming pools, tennis courts, passages, walls, pathways, driveways, lifts, foyers, and fences.
As a member, you have legal and financial responsibilities to the Owners Corporation.
What is a Body Corporate or Owners Corporation?
An Owners Corporation is a body that collectively manages a multi-occupancy subdivision of a building or land. An Owners Corporation is created when subdividing any property into two or more lots. This includes properties classed as residential, retail, commercial, industrial or mixed use.
The term Owners Corporation is the new term for the old familiar Body Corporate. The Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) came into effect on the 1st January 2008. The Act introduced a new framework for the management of multi-occupancy subdivisions and introduced the term ‘Owners Corporation’. The change of name was intended to bring the Victorian legislation into line with the terminology used in other states and to emphasise that an Owners Corporation existed to represent the interests of lot owners.
Functions of an Owners Corporation
The standard functions of an OC include:
- Repair and maintenance of the common property, fixtures and services;
- Maintain correct insurance, including compulsory public liability insurance;
- Provide general management and administration of land and buildings;
- Enforcing the Regulations and Rules of the OC; and
- Provide statutory certificates to owners or prospective purchasers (Form 4 certification).
Owners Corporation Rules
The Act includes rules governing meetings and resolutions, nomination of the committee and manager, duties and rights of lot owners and the prescribed dispute resolution process.
An OC may make additional rules by passing a special resolution (see below). These additional rules may then only be amended or revoked by special resolution.
If an OC does not make its own rules, the model rules apply as set out in Schedule 2 of the Owners Corporation Regulations 2007. The model rules are a brief outline of the responsibilities of the OC and lot owners.
Decisions or resolutions of the Owners Corporation fall into 3 categories or levels. The nature of the item being decided upon will determine whether the resolution will be an Ordinary Resolution, Special Resolution or Unanimous Resolution.
Type of Resolution Majority Purpose
Ordinary Resolution are resolutions of the Owners Corporation whereby 50% of eligible votes are required to pass the resolution.
Special Resolution are resolutions of the Owners Corporation whereby 75% of eligible votes are required to pass the resolution. A Special Resolution is generally needed for deciding on matters such as setting annual fees, extraordinary expenditure, additional fees, leasing or licensing of common property etc.
Unanimous Resolution are resolutions of the Owners Corporation whereby 100% of eligible votes Includes: selling or buying common property; altering boundaries; altering lot entitlement or liability