5 Persistent Myths About Body Corporates

body corporate recordsI read a lot of body corporate records.

Those records comprise everything from official documents to professional reports, minutes and of course correspondence. I can safely say, after all this reading, people have some really strange ideas about body corporates

Mostly those ideas are pretty benign, sometimes hilariously funny and in the end don’t make any difference. A bit of advice quickly dispels them and that’s the end of it.

Sometimes though those ideas turn into beliefs and fuel behaviour toward the body corporate. A lot of frustration, disputes and even financial damage can result for these widely held beliefs.

Myth 1: A body corporate is a business

Some people speak of and treat body corporates as if they’re some sort of huge, faceless corporate entity. It’s particularly true of tradespeople and tenants who collectively have less exposure to the mechanics.

But, a body corporate is NOT a business.

Body corporates do not trade. They do not make a profit. A body corporate is a mechanism for managing common property for, and by, the lot owners.

It’s true that “public” persona of body corporates can seem slick and well managed, and even treat owners like just another cog in the wheel. It’s important to note though that’s not the body corporate as a whole, or even the committee. Rather that persona comes from a paid professional representative, the body corporate manager,  who most likely is a corporate entity.

The body corporate is just a group of people who are managing their investment and they are invested in keeping costs as low as they possible can.

Myth 2: These levies are unnecessarily high!

Which really makes a mockery of this myth. As discussed above there are no body corporate pockets being lined off the backs of the hard working lot owners.

Levies are calculated by estimating costs for the period and then collecting that much.

If the estimate is off, in the next period more or less is collected.

That’s it.

It sounds simplistic and anyone who’s ever done a budget for a body corporate will tell you it’s really not, but, stripped down, that’s what’s happening.

Quite literally the levies are the costs of running the body corporate.

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t corruption in strata schemes and I’m certainly not suggesting there isn’t a fair amount of mismanagement and wastage going on, but, for the most part, the levy amounts collected are what the body corporate intends to spend.

Myth 3: The rules are not meant to be taken quite so literally

Ever met someone who has an obsessive need to follow rules, and, just as importantly, point out to other people that they’re not following the rules? Yeah.

Luckily body corporates attract just this sort of person, which is great. Lets face it, people in strata schemes are strangers who have somehow ended up living together. Strict adherence to ground rules is going to make a lot of difference in how well that turns out.

The even handedness of following by-laws also makes a big difference. No one likes to see someone else bend the rules because they’re a committee member or because everyone else is too afraid to confront them. It’s corrosive.

Everyone should follow the by-laws. It’s important. And if you don’t like the by-laws get involved and change them.

Myth 4: Its my lot and I’ll do what I want

There’s a fine line between autonomy within your own lot and actions likely to affect the common property or other lot owners. The first is great, the second, yeah, not so much.

Changes within lots, particularly those to do with external changes, will be governed by the by-laws. In most cases any changes that you intend to make, including internal renovations will need to be approved by the committee.

Committees can order changes you’ve made be reversed. It’s far easier to have all the wrangling over with before you begin than to argue about it afterwards.

Ask before you make changes.

Myth 5: It’s not my responsibility

For the vast majority of lot owners paying levies and completing a voting paper for the AGM is the extent of their involvement with the body corporate. Some don’t even do that.

There’s this assumption that the “body corporate”, again this nameless, faceless entity, will just get on with it.

But someone needs to step up and actually take the lead. And if someone else does take responsibility it’s not an invitation to just let them get on with it. Keep in touch with what’s happening and if something seems off speak up.

Problems arise for a lot of reasons and sometimes that’s neglect, indifference or even incompetence. It’s no use complaining if you’ve left it up to someone else to take care of things and the results are not to your liking.

Body corporates are made up of people who just happened to buy a unit, and that means few of them are actually body corporate professionals. Sadly a lot of disputes come up because people are not clear on their rights and responsibilities.

With that in mind I’ve put together a short eBook called The Basics of Body Corporates that outlines, well, basic information about body corporates new lot owners need to know.

If you, or someone you know is interested it’s available free here.

THE BASICS OF BODY CORPORATES

A little knowledge can go a long way


I see so many stressful and frustrating issues in body corporate records that result from simple misunderstandings it hurts my head. If I could do one thing to help it would be to teach everyone the basic rules, so they can avoid all these dramas.


With that in mind I've put together a short eBook that sets out the basics everyone owning in a body corporate really should know. It won't make those big issues go away, but it will give you a firm grounding from which to communicate.


It's completely free, so please, download it now!

Download Now

Trackbacks

  1. […] Body corporates do not trade, they do not make money and in most cases they do not collect more than they have estimated they will require. It’s a common myth. […]

  2. […] often may seem the BCM is in charge of the body corporate but that is actually a myth. The BCM is a business hired to undertake certain functions of the committee. Because they answer […]

  3. […] a common myth that the body corporate manager is in charge of a body corporate, so much so that it often comes as […]

  4. […] This post first appeared on MyBodyCorpReport.com.au […]

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