Welcome to the Blog

This page lists every post published on the blog in order of newest to oldest.

It’s a little overwhelming when you see it all set out like this so if you’re not sure what you’re looking for a better place to start might be Body Corporate Information.


16 Things Respectful Body Corporate Residents Do - There are two groups of people in a strata scheme: lot owners and body corporate residents. When I use the term “body corporate residents” I mean everyone who lives in the scheme, owners or tenants and their various visitors. How body corporate residents treat each other is a key measure of the success of a […]
body corporate balconies Body Corporate Balconies: Common Property or Part of the Lot - Body corporate balconies cause a surprising amount of drama. This Melbourne waterproofing website reports: A recent insurance survey has shown that “Balcony Waterproofing” has the highest failure rate of all areas in the building envelope. As you’ll see below there are many common ways in which balconies fail. This article will explore the issues that […]
terminate strata management agreements How & Why Strata Managers Terminate Strata Management Agreements - Strata managers terminate strata management agreements for a range of reasons, some to do with the business and some to do with the scheme. There are many reasons why a Strata Manager might decide to part ways with a client, including: The Committee members or lot owners are abusive, dismissive or otherwise disrespectful to the […]
Search Adjudicators Orders How To Search Adjudicators Orders & When and Why You Should - There is no government body responsible for ensuring “fair play” in the body corporate world, something that often comes as a shock to owners. Instead there is a specialist body corporate court, administered by Office of the Commissioner Body Corporate. Orders made by an Adjudicator become part of the legal interpretation of the body corporate law. […]
Common Property Boundaries - Defining common property boundaries in a body corporate is essential in working out who is responsible for what. As a general rule of thumb: common property = body corporate responsibility, lot = lot owner responsibility. Bodies corporate are forbidden from spending joint funds on works that benefit a lot and for lot owners there is no […]
capital works in a body corporate The Process for Capital Works in a Body Corporate - A sinking fund exists for one purpose: to fund capital works. Capital works in a body corporate have a specific process that’s followed from start to finish, with differing levels of professionalism and success unfortunately. I see this process over and over in the smallest to the largest building. For both buyers and existing owners its a daunting prospect. The […]
body corporate sinking fund balance How To Check Your Body Corporate Sinking Fund Balance - The most common question buyers ask is What is the body corporate sinking fund balance? What does that really tell you though? A big figure is good, a small one bad? It’s too simple a measure without some context. A clearer question is how much do we have and how much do we need?  This article is about how […]
The Risk of a Low Body Corporate Sinking Fund Balance - How much is in the body corporate sinking fund? This is the most common question when buying a unit. Unfortunately the balance is only half the story. The more telling part is how much should be in the body corporate sinking fund? This article is about how a body corporate sinking fund is accumulated, where […]
how many strata schemes in queensland How Many Strata Schemes in Queensland? - Common Ground  is a periodic newsletter published by the Office Commissioner Body Corporate & Community Management. It contains all sorts of interesting articles including statistics.  I find statistics like “how many strata schemes in Queensland” riveting stuff, so, in case you do too, I thought I’d share. How Many Strata Schemes in Queensland? There are 45,362 […]
Body Corporate Fence Body Corporate Fences: Who Is Responsible For Maintenance? - Body corporate fences: No one seems to be too clear on who is responsible for maintaining them. Is it the body corporate or the lot owner? As with most things body corporate the answer is it depends. Not very helpful I know but that’s why there’s a whole article on this subject. Do bear in […]
Disputes with the Building Manager How To Resolve Disputes with the Building Manager - I’ve had a lot of queries recently from committee members asking how schemes deal with disputes with the Building Manager. The majority of schemes over 20 lots will have a Building Manager / Onsite Manager / Caretaker / Independent Contractor (all different names that refer to the same position) appointed under Management Rights agreements. For a lot […]
body corporate dispute Who Can Help When You Have A Body Corporate Dispute? - The most common questions I get on my website are questions about what to do when you have a body corporate dispute. Finding help when things are going pear shaped within your strata scheme can seem like a mammoth task and I know a lot of people end up feeling frustrated and alienated. This article […]
2015 top ten articles Top 10 Articles for 2015 - Happy New Year! I don’t know about you but I love this time of year. There’s something about a new year that just makes me want to get organised. Its also a time of reflection and this year I’m reflecting on what articles on the website people are reading. So below are the top 10 most […]
body corporate budget How A Body Corporate Budget is Set and Changed - I recently received the following excellent question from Frank: I’ve just bought a unit and am confused about the budget-setting that you mentioned. Who sets the proposed budget for the AGM? The committee? he treasurer? The body corporate manager? And what if the meeting wanted to increase the proposed budget by, say, 15% because of some […]
body corporate voting rights and why to use them Body Corporate Voting Rights and Why You Should Use Them - Last week I was asked for a source of the Queensland legislation that says 100% of owners need to give permission before a scheme can be terminated. I don’t actually like the “show me the legislation” question, but in this case it’s contained within the BCCM Act itself (from section 77 if you’re interested) and […]
queensland body corporate legislation How Different is Queensland Body Corporate Legislation? - I write about Queensland body corporate legislation, which is not too hard to figure out since that’s where I live. Plus I rather give it away with the great big banner on my website saying “I write about QLD legislation”. That said, people from a lot more places than Queensland read this website. When you […]
body corporate maintenance The Problem With Body Corporate Maintenance - One of the most attractive things about living in a body corporate is the ability to have the body corporate maintenance undertaken by someone who isn’t you. Of course there’s always a trade-off and in this case it’s that you pay quite handsomely for the privilege. And that’s the fundamental problem with body corporate maintenance; […]
Body Corporate Levy Increase 6 Indicators of a Body Corporate Levy Increase - One of the things I see often in body corporates looks something like this: Period Admin Budget Sinking Budget Total To Raise FY Ended 6/2014 $200,000 $50,000 $250,000 FY Ended 6/2015 $170,000 $100,000 $270,000 What this shows is that there has been a 50% increase in sinking fund budget from one financial year to the […]
secret votes Secret Votes Don’t Need To Be Secret or What I Learnt From My First Adjudicators Order - I’ve just been involved in Adjudication. A ruling I made as a returning officer was disputed by a lot owner who made an application to the Commissioners Office to overturn. That application has now been decided. Let me set the scene. I’d been appointed returning officer for Florentino Apartments, a 20 lot body corporate on […]
red flags in a strata search 14 More Red Flags in a Strata Search - I did a search recently where a special levy was issued. A special levy is one of many red flags in a strata search, an indication there may be bigger problems so, hey, you best investigate. On that occasion the small special levy turned out to be the tip of a complex situation that’s going […]
Body Corporate Approvals Buying A Unit & Body Corporate Approvals - One of the most overlooked items when buying a unit is remembering to check that body corporate approval has been granted for any changes. Body corporate approvals are written documents from the Committee to a lot owner granting permission for whatever is being sought. It might be approval to keep a pet, to install a structure, […]
body corporate insurance claim Why Is My Body Corporate Insurance Claim Taking So Long? - I’m a lot owner in a scheme in Brisbane. Our townhouse (and many other in the complex) was damaged by the storm on 31/1/2015.  All damaged caused by branches falling off large gum tree in body corporate common area. It’s been more than 3 months, nothing has been fixed (including other lots in the complex). […]
Vote been unfairly invalidated Question: Has My Vote Been Unfairly Invalidated? - To My I believe my (& 11 other) votes were incorrectly disqualified at a Body Corp. EGM and would appreciate your opinion in the following scenario: EGM was held at 11am on 1 Dec 2014 The Chairperson “noted twelve (12) Lots had submitted invalid voting papers due to a debt owing to the Body […]
building and construction defects How to Get Building and Construction Defects Rectified - I had this email recently: Altered slightly to preserve anonymity. Our building is 8 years old.  From day 1 we have pretty well had problems with a leaking roof.  Each time we called the builder to rectify they have come and done a patch up job. With the heavy rains, this has been an ongoing […]
apathy in body corporates Case Study: The Consequences of Apathy in Bodies Corporate - Apathy in a body corporate is cause for alarm. It’s also a problem that is rife. Many people buy a unit with nothing but a rudimentary understanding bodies corporate and how they work and then proceed to ignore and complain about the body corporate as if it’s of no relevance to them at all. Unfortunately for a […]
pre issue body corporate levies What Are Pre Issue Body Corporate Levies - Pre-issue body corporate levies, or interim levies as they’re sometimes called, are a response to the peculiarities of the end of financial year process for strata schemes. Body corporate end of financial year systems are different from the majority of the rest of Australia. The end of financial year can be any month in the […]
body corporate water meters Case Study: Can My Body Corporate Force Me To Install A Water Meter On My Lot? - I had an email not long ago from a lot owner who prefers to remain anonymous about the body corporate wanting to install water meters. In fact the scheme had passed a motion at the AGM to install the water meters at the individual lot owner’s costs. The question was, can the body corporate actually […]
body corporate legislation Show me the body corporate legislation that says that! - People ask me questions, all the time, which I answer, not all the time but quite often. Please don’t think I think I have all the answers, because really, really don’t. But I can, and do, have an insight to offer which I’m happy to share. One the things I find the most frustrating though […]
body corporate budget What Happens When Body Corporate Budgets Are Not Adopted - The biggest complaint about strata schemes is that the levies are too high! Particularly since levies have a tendency to increase, usually by a small amount year in year out. When they vote at general meetings most owners (if they vote) will vote yes to the legislative motions which include things like confirming the financials and insurance […]
15 signs of a healthy body corporate 15 Signs of a Healthy Body Corporate - A healthy body corporate is what every purchaser wants when they buy a unit. A pre purchase strata report is all about investigating the scheme to find that out. How exactly do we do that? I did a search where the client specifically requested that I look for evidence on the effectiveness of the Committee. Luckily […]
Why are body corporate levies so expensive? Body Corporate Levies: Why Are They So Expensive? - One of the first questions people ask when they’re buying a unit is “how much are the levies?” It’s a smart question because it does no one any favours to buy a property they can’t afford to hold. The body corporate levies are a large part of those holding costs. Savvy buyers take the current […]
3 common disputes with building managers 3 Common Disputes with Building Managers - One of the questions under the “Contracts” section in our Pre Purchase Strata Report is: Are there any disputes with the Building Manager? The question is there because disputes with Building Managers do come up, and they have the potential to be both very expensive and very damaging to the sense of community within the […]
stress free unit ownership 5 Simple Tips For Stress Free Unit Ownership - I’m a strata searcher. Most people look at me blankly when I say that so now days I tell them it’s a fancy phrase that means I investigate body corporates. “Oh!” they reply and then proceed to tell me horror stories about their body corporate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind. In fact, keep […]
corruption in body corporates 14 Examples of Corruption, Coercion & Bad Behaviour in Body Corporates - I know I spend a lot of time focussing on the negatives of body corporates, and clearly this article about corruption in body corporates is not going to be any different. I do have a purpose here though, I’m building a library of information to help people navigate occasionally murky body corporate waters. To be fair, […]
unexpected body corporate fees Unexpected Body Corporate Fees - A key consideration when you buy any property is going to be whether or not you can afford the holding costs. And for units that means body corporate fees. It’s such an important issue, for both owners and body corporates, that legislation requires the current levies payable be disclosed to lot owners at time of […]
Body corporate committee 3 Common Body Corporate Committee Issues That Will Affect All Lot Owners - It’s a common myth that the body corporate manager is in charge of a body corporate, so much so that it often comes as a surprise for those new to strata schemes that it’s actually a Committee who have the power and responsibility; well the Committee along with all the lot owners. One of the […]
financial planning 6 Things I Learnt About Financial Planning Working With An Adviser - Before I launched into the world of body corporates I was a small business manager. My particular expertise is office systems. I’ve been blessed to work at a number of very small businesses in an administrative role, and have learnt many different systems for managing workflow. Last year an opportunity arose for me to use […]
body corporate regulation module Body Corporate Regulation Module: What Is It & Why You Should Be Wary Of Change - Body corporate regulation modules were created under the BCCM Act 1997 to define how a building is managed. There are five body corporate regulation modules at present: standard, accommodation, commercial, small schemes and two lot. This article is about what regulation modules are and why you should be wary if your body corporate wants to […]
poor body corporate management 5 Signs Of Poor Body Corporate Management - There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you realise things have gone pear shaped when you weren’t looking. It’s particularly pertinent for strata schemes where most lot owners’ only brush with their body corporate management is paying levies and voting at annual meetings. Although there is “help” available when disputes arise there is no oversight to body corporate management […]
body corporate repairs and maintenance Body Corporate Repairs and Maintenance - One of the coolest things about body corporates is their ability to stay neat and tidy without you having to personally  clean and tidy. Of course there’s no such thing as a magical self-caring property so someone is obviously taking care of the place. Who is responsible for body corporate repairs and maintenance? More importantly is […]
pre purchase strata report How & When to Order a Pre Purchase Strata Report - This is it, you’ve found it! Your new unit. It’s everything you’ve been looking for and you think the price is pretty good. You’re going to take the plunge and make an offer. Wait! Read this first. When you buy a unit that’s part of a strata scheme you’re taking on a portion of the […]
top 10 articles 2014 Top 10 Articles for 2014 - Unfortunately I mix writing this blog with searching strata records so often what I’m writing is a reflection of what I’m actually seeing in real body corporates rather than to a cohesive plan. That’s something I’d like to address in 2015 by actually making a plan (I know, astonishing idea!) and then, hopefully, following the […]
Sinking fund Forecast What Is A Body Corporate Sinking Fund Forecast? - Whenever I prepare a strata report one of the few documents I always include is a copy of the Sinking Fund Forecast. I do that for a very specific reason; they’ve a valuable source of a lot of information about the strata scheme, the Sinking Fund and management. What Is A Sinking Fund Forecast? A […]
Body corporate dispute Case Study: An Ineffective Response To A Body Corporate Dispute - I did a search the other day that contained this item regarding a body corporate dispute: Tabled correspondence from the Caretaker complaining of by-law breaches by unit x (The Secretary)… There have been altercations between The Secretary and the Caretaker including physical and verbal violence. The committee discussed the matter (The Secretary was absent) and […]
what is proxy farming What is Proxy Farming? - Proxy farming is a charming phrase to describe a practice that polarises body corporates. It’s all about the balance of power, who has it, who wants it and what they want to do with it. Sadly that can quite often be “get up to no good” or the ever popular “arrange things to suit ME”. […]
what is a body corporate? What is a Body Corporate? - Ask most people “what is a body corporate?” and, well, you’ll probably get a lot of different answers, the most common being a general wave toward the nearest visible highrise. But that’s an assumption, and also a clear indication that the person you’re speaking with doesn’t really have much of an idea of what a […]
body corporate secret ballot How To Make Your Body Corporate Secret Ballot Count - I often act as returning officer for body corporates. A returning officer is an impartial third party who acts as referee in validating and opening body corporate secret ballots. Usually those matters relate to Management Rights or election of committee. I did a job the other day where the outcome of the vote hinged on […]
common property What is Common Property and Why is it Important? - Buying a unit is different from buying a house. The key difference is the ownership structure. With a house, your lot is your lot and that’s it. With a unit the lot itself is only a part of the overall value of the unit. As important is the common property of the body corporate within […]
body corporate returning officer What is a Body Corporate Returning Officer? - In a lot of ways body corporates act like small democratic countries; they’re heavily legislated, led by an elected governing body, the majority rules and the citizens are (should be at least) watching what happens with an eagle eye ready to cry foul at a moments notice. And just like for a country, voting in […]
body corporates and pets Pets and Body Corporates - Pets and body corporates account for the most common by-law breaches. Pets making noise, pets creating a nuisance, pets damaging common property and the ever popular pets without permission. The issues of animals in strata schemes is polarising and the subject of much debate. This article is a brief overview of the rules and regulations […]
why get a strata report Why Get A Strata Report? - Why get a strata report? There are two key reasons to check out a body corporate or owners corporation before your commit financially and finalise your purchase: cancellation / renegotiation of the deal or peace of mind the building is sound. Buying into a body corporate is not the same as buying a house. A […]
tenants and body corporates Tenants and Body Corporates - My daughter has just inked her very first lease on her very first home away from home. Unfortunately for her, her new home is in a body corporate, a subject I know quite a lot about, and am moved to share at the slightest provocation. I’m fairly confident she ignored ever word I said, but […]
body corporate problems How To Decide If Body Corporate Problems Will Affect You - My role is to find body corporate problems. Find them and report them to the buyer or buyer’s Solicitor. But not all body corporate problems are actually, well, problems. A lot depends on their impact. This article is about weighing the pros and cons of body corporate problems to decide if they’re an issue for you, […]
body corporate layered scheme Why Buy A House In A Body Corporate Layered Scheme? - When we think of body corporates we tend to think of the towers that dominate our city skylines. In reality body corporates come in all shapes and sizes including an increasing number of single house blocks contained within a large body corporate layered schemes. These type of master planned communities work exactly the same as […]
buying a unit 10 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Unit - If you’re thinking of buying a unit then, most likely, you will be buying into a Body Corporate or Owners Corporation. Strata titled properties are different from free standing houses in a number of different ways. Firstly along with ownership of your unit you’re taking on a share of the body corporate as well, with […]
unclear Costs in a Body Corporate Layered Scheme - Searching a lot in a Resident Body Corporate (RBC) that is part of a body corporate layered scheme is always a frustrating experience for me because it only tells half of the story. The other half is what’s happening in the Principal Body Corporate (PBC). What happens in the PBC contains the probability of impacting […]
off the plan I’m Buying Off The Plan: Should I Still Get A Strata Search? - I say to everyone I meet who’s considering buying a unit “get a strata search!” There are simply far too many things that could go significantly wrong and end up costing you a fortune and / or make you miserable. Of course, I have ulterior motives because I am a strata searcher. It’s still good […]
section 206 disclosure What Is A Section 206 Disclosure Statement & What Can It Tell You? - I read with interest this article by Helen Collier-Kogtevs on the API Magazine website called Five Questions To Find An A-list Property Solicitor. What stood out for me was this:  …For instance, when you’re buying a strata titled property like an apartment or unit in Queensland, you’ll receive a body corporate disclosure statement as part […]
renovate a unit Can I Renovate A Unit? - Many people buy property planning to renovate and, ideally, add substantial value. But what if the lot in question is a lot in a strata scheme? Can you still renovate a unit? And just how much do you need to involve the body corporate in the process? As with most things body corporate the answer […]
duplexes “There Is No Body Corporate” and Other Myths About Duplexes - Out of a total of 42,948 different body corporates in Queensland 30,211 have fewer than six lots. That’s 70% of all strata schemes in Queensland. And the vast majority of that 70% will be made up of duplexes, the humble two-lot dwellings that dominate our suburbs. By now you may have already spotted the most […]
special levies Who Pays Special Levies: The Buyer of The Seller? - Special levies happen in body corporates more often than you might think, and, for some lot owners it’s “the final straw” and the reason they decide to sell. Does that mean any new owner automatically becomes responsible for paying those special levies? As with most things in the body corporate industry, it’s depends. It will […]
building management statement What Is A Building Management Statement? - A Building Management Statement (BMS) is a document that governs how shared facilities are accessed, maintained and funded. That’s a fairly simplistic definition of something that is very complex. A BMS must be registered over at least two lots, at least one of which must be a volumetric lot. What is a volumetric lot? Our […]
building defects Body Corporates & Building Defects - In the June issue of Strata Voice there’s an interesting article “Is Strata Title Keeping Up With Higher Density” presenting research by City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. The research reveals 72% of those surveyed had experienced one or more building defect. That figure becomes 85% for buildings built since […]
body corporate by laws Body Corporate By Laws and Older Buildings - Body corporate by laws and older buildings can be complicated. Records get lost and house rules are adopted but never recorded making a murky environment for purchasers. If a portion of the common property has been set aside as exclusive use for a particular lot this allocation is recorded in the by laws. It’s particularly […]
body corporate levies Body Corporate Levies and Prompt Payment Discounts - Body corporate levies are different from other sorts of accounts; they attach to the lot rather than the lot owner. This is because a body corporate isn’t offering a service like a Strata Manager, or selling a product like Telstra. A body corporate is managing the affairs of a building for, and by, a group […]
house gift Link Roundup: Selling a Property - I read a lot. I read a lot about property and investing and all sorts really. As I read I also collect clippings, usually with the vague idea that I might write about it sometime in the future. Yeah, that happens. As a result of all this reading and clipping I’ve ended up with archives […]
levies in arrears A Quick Guide To Levies In Arrears - In any group of people required to contribute financially on a regular basis there is inevitably going to be someone who defaults. In body corporate lexicon a levy issue that has been defaulted on, ie an invoice that has not been paid by the due date, is considered “Levies in Arrears”. It’s a good idea […]
disclosure statements expire and Disclosure Statements Policy - Disclosure statements do expire, however we take no responsibility for the expiration dates of any disclosure statements. We simply cannot be responsible for something over which we have no control. Disclosure statements expire when the information contained within them expires. That information contained within disclosure statements is obtained by reporting on the activities of the body […]
body corporate problems The Most Common Body Corporate Problems (in no particular order) - Although every building is uniquely individual there are a number of body corporate problems that come up over and over. This article is about some of those recurring issues. Be aware these are in no particular order and they have different levels of severity. Some of them are annoying, some are just painful and others […]
strata search 15 “Red Flags” In A Strata Search - I spend my days reading reports and trying to decipher what they mean, usually so I can report that information to others in a strata search. As a Strata Searcher you learn pretty early on that it’s best to be thorough in reporting. If you don’t you’ll end up going back to answer questions, or […]
body corporate water Body Corporate Water and Rates - UPDATE: 13/4/2015 – see the end of the article. As with many things body corporate water rates are complicated. Whether your water bill comes from the Council or the body corporate will be determined by whether or not a water meter is installed. By contrast, your rates bill will definitely come from your local Council, […]
body corporate disputes 10 Simple Steps To Avoid Body Corporate Disputes - Body corporate disputes are the worst. It’s bad enough fighting with your neighbours but when they live across the hall it adds and extra little dimension of hell that makes life really uncomfortable. It’s impossible to avoid disputes entirely but there are some simple things each lot owner can do that will go a long way […]
body corporate records What’s So Great About Body Corporate Records? - Body corporates have a lot of pluses and for me the greatest are the body corporate records. Buying any property is all about speculation. There is a reason the current owners are selling and sometimes that reason is because the property in question is a great big old lemon. If you’re buying a house you […]
body corporate meetings Body Corporate Meetings: How To Keep In Touch - Something that comes up again and again in body corporate records is owners complaining about levies. Usually special levies, one off, or even multiple levies, issued to owners for a specific project. Inevitably someone complains “I knew nothing about it. How can you do this without letting us know?” Of course a body corporate can’t […]
strata search is not rocket science How Do You Do A Strata Search And Can I Do It Myself? - Strata searching is not rocket science. Actually it’s not any sort of science. Doing a strata search is about reading, and anyone can do it. When I learnt strata searching a very knowledgeable lady took me out into the field and walked me through the process. She then spent the next month sitting in the […]
beware strata levies that are too low Beware Strata Levies That Are Too Low! - The other day I was asked: I am interested in buying a unit but strata levies are $900 per annum on old medium size block of 12 units. When I enquired with unit next door they pay $400 strata levies per annum. Is this possible to have two strata neighbours so different? This is 50 […]
body corporate disputes Body Corporate Disputes: Who Are These People? - One of the key strengths of body corporates is the ability to build a community, a place where people feel safe, connected and involved. Communities are all about people. And therein lies the problem. We all know people we like, and those we don’t, people we respect and people who just flat out make us […]
strata search Who Gets A Strata Search? - Strata searches, or body corporate roll searches as they’re called here in Queensland, are, well, my reason for being in business. I believe that buying into a body corporate without actually finding out what’s going on is just nuts! There is lot that can go wrong, and not just financially either. Sometimes, often actually, the […]
figures on question marks Who Pays For What? Building Format Plan v Standard Format Plan - Something that comes up time and again in body corporates is who pays for what? The body corporate is responsible for common property. The lot owner is responsible for the lot. Issues arise in determining what is common property and what is the lot, since boundaries will differ between plans. There are two types of […]
strata search What To Look For In Your Pre-purchase Strata Search - There’s that special moment when you sign a contract when you’re not sure whether you’re suffused with excitement or sheer terror. What have I just done? It’s normal. It even has a name; Buyer’s Remorse. As a purchaser what you’re really looking for in these moments is peace of mind that you’re not buying into […]
body corporate records 5 Persistent Myths About Body Corporates - I 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 […]
honeycomb cul de sac Do I Need A Section 206 Disclosure Statement For My Duplex? - A duplex is defined as a house divided into two lots, each with it’s own entrance. Most, though not all, duplexes are characterised by joint wall(s) somewhere in the building. Just because there are two lots in a duplex doesn’t necessarily mean there are two titles and the lots can be sold separately. Quite the […]
insufficient sinking funds Case Study: Insufficient Sinking Funds, Why It Happens And What It Means - Someone told me a story the other day about an apartment sale that fell through when the purchaser found out the building needed lift replacements. At an estimated cost of $1,000,000. To be shared by 60 owners. My first reaction was, wow, great example of the benefit of a strata search. My second reaction was, […]
Evoque Kelvin Grove How To Find Units With Low Body Corporate Fees - Average body corporate fees in south east Queensland run around $5,000 – $6,000 per annum. That’s $96 – $115 per week. Many are a lot higher. The highest levy I’ve ever seen was around $25,000 p.a. or $480 per week. And of course many levies are much lower than that average. The lowest levy I’ve […]
hazards of poor body corporate management The Hazards of a Poor Body Corporate Committee - For the vast majority of lot owners paying levies, observing by-laws and voting at general meetings will be the sum of their involvement with the body corporate. To a chosen few falls the task of leading and decision making. Management of a body corporate is a simple enough premise: all the lot owners combined vote […]
financially sound 4 KPI’s To Tell If A Body Corporate Is Financially Sound - A body corporate is a mechanism for managing common property. A mechanism funded by lot owners. Body corporates can and do run into difficulties stemming from many different issues. And if they get into difficulty they’re most likely going to finance any extra funds needed by way of levies on the lot owners. If its important to you […]
wall cracking Body Corporate Problems: The 5 Areas Where Things Go Wrong - For the most part body corporates are well managed, fiscally sound, have a great mix of residents and make for good investments. Sometimes though, they’re not any of those things and the results can be incredibly costly and stressful. Body corporate problems come up in all sorts of areas, some easily dealt with, some not so […]
annual general meeting What’s On The Agenda At The Annual General Meeting - Every body corporate must hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) within three (3) months of the end of financial year. But what if you don’t actually have any business going on at present? There are plenty of body corporate’s out there which are well managed and maintained and have few issues requiring works or owners […]
annual general meeting The Process Of Holding An Annual General Meeting - Every year each body corporate is required to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) within three (3) months of the end of financial year. Of course a lot of body corporates do go over that three month limit due to all sorts of reasons. In that case the committee are expected to apply to the […]
figure on bill Body Corporate Managers: What Do They Really Do? - Body corporates are run by a committee elected by all lot owners voting at the Annual General Meeting. This can cause some problems since body corporates are heavily regulated and the buildings involved can be both innovative and complex whilst most committee members are volunteers with little to no experience of the property industry. Clearly […]
strata report Should I Order A Full Or Short Body Corporate Records Search? - offers two types of pre-purchase body corporate records search; a short form purchaser search and full purchaser search. But which one is right for you? The two reports are designed to meet differing needs. Short Form Body Corporate Records Search As a search agent I have no idea what issues are going to be […]
Christmas Trading Hours - will be open through the Christmas period except for public holidays and weekends. Unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to get your search. To complete searches we need access to body corporate records and many of the managers close over the holiday period. Closing times vary from manager to manager so […]
high rise What Are Management Rights? - Say you live in a body corporate, an apartment building like the one pictured here. Who do you think vacuums the carpet? Who cleans the pool? Who changes the light bulbs? There are hundreds of small tasks involved in maintaining the common property of a building and all those tasks are the responsibility of the […]
asbestos register Asbestos Register: What Is It And How Does It Affect Body Corporates? - 61.4% of New South Wales do-it-yourself renovators reported being exposed to asbestos whilst undertaking renovations of their properties. 39.3% also reported their partner had also been exposed and a further 22.8% that their children had been exposed. I don’t know about you but that idea just terrifies me. Asbestos is such a silent killer. Once exposed it can […]
vote The Dangers Of A Majority Lot Owner In A Body Corporate - This week in Purchase or Pass a two bedroom, one bathroom, clean and tidy lot in a good location with pleasing aspect was the subject of discussion. The catch: One lot owner has a 75% majority holding within the building. The panel of experts unanimously agreed they would pass on this opportunity, despite each believing the […]
open house For Sale Signs And Body Corporates - Body corporates have rules, and quite a lot of them. Most body corporate by-laws will include a rule about marketing a lot, or more specifically, whether or not you can put up a for sale sign. In some cases the answer will be a definitive NO! Others will be a definite yes, go ahead. In […]
change is now Section 206 Disclosure Statement Requirements Changed - Effective 1st of August, 2013 the Body Corporate & Community Management Amendment Act 2012 (second Amendment Act) changes re section 206 disclosure statements came into force. The most important change is that section 206 disclosure statements no longer need to include a copy of the  Community Management Statement (CMS). This will come as something of a relief […]
search icon How To Find Who Manages The Body Corporate Records? - Its very common in body corporates that there is NO representative of the body corporate available onsite. Which means, if you do need to speak to someone with the power to act on behalf of the scheme, finding out who that person is can turn into a drawn out treasure hunt. Whomever manages the body […]
crime scene What To Disclose When Selling A Unit - If there’s been a grisly murder or a suicide in an apartment, do you need to disclose that to potential purchasers? David Airey wrote on this subject in the Property Observer today talking about stigmatised history of a property. It’s kind of disturbing that this happens so often that there’s actually a name for it. […]
Body Corporate Spending Limits - Once the committee has been elected at the Annual General Meeting they then are solely responsible for making decisions on behalf of the body corporate. But that doesn’t mean that they can go off and do whatever they please, upgrade this, maintain that and basically spend money willy nilly. Quite the opposite in fact. In fact […]
Body Corporate Management: Who’s In Charge? - Most lot owners experience of their body corporate management is levy notices, agendas and minutes in the mail. For others there may be some interaction with the onsite building manager. But who actually is in charge? It helps to think of a body corporate as a country, and a democratic one at that, ruled by […]
past due Substantial Levies In Arrears - Levies in arrears are always an issue for body corporates, but especially so when those arrears become substantial. I have defined substantial levies in arrears as over 20 – 25% of total funds held – calculated by dividing levies in arrears by current total funds held. This is the point where liquidity will start to […]
body corporate records Body Corporate Records Are Private Information - Under the various states legislation strata schemes are required to keep extensive records of their expenditure and decision making. However, just because body corporate records are kept doesn’t mean anyone can access them. In fact body corporate records are private information. You wouldn’t ask to view your neighbours financial records just because you’re interested and the same applies to […]
How To Calculate Body Corporate Levies - Mention the word body corporate and most people immediately think of levies. I’m convinced it’s the one thing that everyone knows about body corporate’s that’s actually correct. Every body corporate does issue levies. What amount those levies are is vastly different from building to building. I’ve seen levies per lot as low as $55 per year and […]
property developers How Property Developers Choices Impact Body Corporates - Property developers are a powerful force in the way out cities and towns are presented. Quite literally to develop a community is to give it physical form. Where I live I see the marks of the developer everywhere; in the size of the blocks, the layout of the streets and the lack of footpaths. All […]
body corporate funds Deficit In Body Corporate Funds - A deficit in the body corporate funds is a definite red flag as often it’s an indicator of a more serious issue financial issues. A body corporate is a legal entity, just a like a company or individual, and just like companies or individuals body corporates can run into financial problems, incur debt and be made bankrupt. […]
Body Corporate Insurance Valuations - Body corporate insurance valuations are a vital tool in ensuring (pun intended) lot owners are fully indemnified should anything happen to the body corporate. The Body Corporate & Community Management Act 1997 says The body corporate must take out the following building insurance: – building format plan (BFP) — insurance for the full replacement value of […]
shared pool Body Corporate Pool Safety Certificate - The Department of Housing and Public Works webiste notes that: If residents of 2 or more dwellings can use a pool, such as a body corporate pool, it is a shared pool. The website further notes Shared pool owners, such as bodies corporate, can take advantage of a 2 year phase-in period from 1 December […]
compulsory membership You and Body Corporate Membership - Sometimes people complain that they don’t need to pay their levies, or observe the by-laws of a body corporate because they’re not actually a member of the body corporate. They never joined, they don’t want to and frankly none of that stuff has got anything to do with them. And while we’re on that subject […]
Body Corporates and Marina Berths - The Body Corporate & Community Management Act 1997 (BCCM Act) states a body corporate can only be registered on freehold land. This is why some body corporates are registered under different acts and are governed by the provisions of that respective act as well as the Building Unit & Group Titles Act (BUGTA). A marina […]
exclusive use allocation Exclusive Use Allocations - Sometimes parts of the body corporate common property are allocated to specific lot owners as exclusive use. If exclusive use allocations are made they must be recorded and then the allocation becomes, well, for the exclusive use of that lot owner. Basically an exclusive use area becomes an extension of the lot and the lot […]
calculation Has There Been A Contribution Lot Entitlement Change? - When a body corporate is registered the schedule of interest and contribution lot entitlements are set out in the CMS. But who sets those lot entitlements? The first lot entitlements for any body corporate are set by the developer. Now days contribution lot entitlements are required to be equal, unless being equal would then result in […]
My Body Corporate Doesn’t Have A Name - When you’re dealing with body corporates in Queensland one of the first thing that most people in the industry will ask is “What’s the name of your building or complex?”. That’s because, in Queensland, body corporate names are how schemes are indexed. But wait you say, my body corporate doesn’t have a name. Actually in Queensland all […]
expired Body Corporate Levies & Expired Current Levy Year Issued - Body corporate levies are set on a year to year basis, three months after the start of the new financial year. For reporting this creates issues. Sometimes a disclosure statement or records search will quote levies for a period that has expired. For instance, say the levies are quoted to 31/7/2012 and yet the date of […]
how are levies calculated The Importance of “Levies Paid To” Date - When I bought my first house I found the whole process very stressful; exciting but stressful. So stressful in fact that when all was finally organised and executed and we moved in I realised I’d forgotten to get the power turned on. Luckily there was still power at the house so, score! The next day […]
Body Corporate Levies - One of the most common misconceptions about body corporates is that they are overcharging for levies or somehow making money off the lot owners. I’m never really sure what nefarious purpose people think is going on, but it’s not at all what’s happening. Body corporates are heavily regulated in almost every aspect and levies more […]
lot entitlements Schedule of Lot Entitlements - Who pays for what when ownership is shared? For all their complexity body corporates are simply mechanisms for managing common property. That common property is owned by the collective lot owners who are responsible for paying for the upkeep of said property by way of levies. How to actually calculate who pays and owns what […]
community Community Management Statement - The Community Management Statement (CMS) is a document that sets out the rules for living in a body corporate, the development of the body corporate, any common property allocated to individual lots and of course the all important who pays what towards upkeep. The CMS sets out the name of the body corporate, the regulation […]
Certificate of Classification - Section 103 of the Building Act 1975 requires that buildings be issued with a Certificate of Classification. All buildings built after 1st April, 1976 are required to be issued with a certificate. The Certificate of Classification sets out the use of the building and any restrictions on that use, as well as ongoing maintenance and […]
Is My Lot Part of A Body Corporate Layered Scheme? - A body corporate layered scheme is, well, exactly what it says; there are layers of body corporates, one contained within the other. They’re precincts of several different body corporates all with joint infrastructure. The over riding principal of all body corporate legislations is fairness; fairness with cost allocations and fairness with use of common property. Layered […]
Common Property - The body corporate is responsible for managing the common property. In fact that’s a nice simple definition of what a body corporate really is. Common property is the area that is not contained within the lot. That’s not really clear so lets look at some examples. Two Types Of Body Corporates There are two types […]
comission payable Does A Section 206 Disclosure Statement Expire? - If you’re selling a lot in a body corporate in Queensland then you will need to provide your agent(s) with section 206 disclosure statement.  Some agents suggest that you get a disclosure statement as soon as you list your property, however it can be many months between listing your property and any actual contract for […]
How to find units with lot body corporate fees Changes To Lot Entitlements Legislation - This week the Queensland parliament have passed the Body Corporate & Community Management Amendment Bill 2012. The Amendment Act amends another amendment act that was passed in 2011 that amended some case law that had been in effect since 2004. Specifically the issue all these laws relate to is levies, or more precisely the contribution […]
What Is A Body Corporate? - The complicated answer to the question “What is a Body Corporate?” is, it’s a mechanism for holding and managing common property. To make things a little clearer lets look at a simple illustration. A Simple Land Subdivision The process of developing land is relatively simple to understand. A developer wants to subdivide lot 1 on […]
Welcome To A Smarter Strata Search - Hi … My name is Lisa Rutland and I’m a strata searcher. I spend large amounts of every day buried up to my eye-balls in body corporate records. That may sound boring, and, well, yeah, mostly it really, really is, but occasionally there is something different, unusual or sometimes just plain wrong that really grabs my […]

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If you didn’t maybe you could send me an email. I’m always looking for ideas for the blog and, if you had the question, there’s probably many more owners or buyers who have the same question.

Thank you for reading and if there is anything I can help with please let me know.

Lisa Rutland



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!

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