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 berth is somewhat similar in that they are not built on freehold land. Technically they’re not really built on land at all!

To build a marina the pillars must be placed into the banks of a river, waterway or canal. The banks of rivers, waterways and canals are Crown land and as such cannot be purchased.

It land can however be leased. And that is what the body corporate’s do; lease the land on which the marina is to be constructed from the Crown, usually for a 99 year term. That lease is referred to as the head lease.

Individual berths within the marina are allocated through individual sub leases.

Buying and selling marina berths

Its usually a term of the body corporate by-laws that a sub-lease for a marina berth can only be granted to an owner who already owns a lot within the body corporate.

The sub-lease is in the name of the lot owner, not the lot. That means marina berths can be bought, sold or traded independently of the lot. The only criteria is that the new owner of the marina berth sub lease must also be a lot owner.

However,  in some body corporate’s  marina berths cannot be transferred. If a lot owner sells their lot, they can no longer hold the marina berth sub-lease, which then reverts back to the body corporate. It will then be re-allocated to a different lot owner, usually based on a waiting list.

Occasionally marina berths are allocated as exclusive use in a CMS. In that case the berth must be sold with the lot.

If a lot is being sold complete with a marina berth there will be levies associated with the berth and those levies should be included in the disclosure requirements for the contract.

In the case of layered schemes the marina berth may be included in the principal body corporate rather than the body corporate that holds the lot. In that case a separate disclosure statement will need to be prepared.


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


  1. Peter Moloney says:

    Hope you can help me. I am a owner in a high rise building that has marina berths. I am about to be given a marina berth from another owner and pay the body corporate fees. The fees are separate from the unit body corporate. What procedure do we have to take to change the title into my name?

    • Hi Peter

      You need to discuss with your body corporate manager. With marina berths there’s usually a head lease for the sea bed and then subleases for each berth. You’ll need to get the lease transferred to your name. The BCM should be able to walk you through the process (if they even bother).

      Also … check your by-laws. Some schemes require that if someone relinquishes a marina berth it reverts to the BC so they can allocate per a waiting list.

  2. Hello I am about to purchase a unit which was advertised complete with marina berth – however there is nothing in the sale of contract that states this… If we sign the contract of sale how do we know if we have the exclusive rights to that particular berth and will we be paying a lease on it thereafter purchase. I’m really confused!

    • Hi Tracey

      Marina berths can be allocated a number of ways. It could be on the title for the property, it could be allocated as exclusive use or allocated via an agreement. Some don’t have any formal arrangement at all! Each will impact how the berth is transferred.

      You will need to search the records of the scheme for details.

      • Hi,
        I live in a small apartment building and the apartment under ours is listed for sale with a boat marina birth (not all apartments come with a birth), the auction details state that the apartment is being sold with a Marina Birth as a ‘Chattel’ not exclusive use… does this seem correct?

        I do know that none of the Marina Birth owners in the building pay separate BC fees for their Marina Births, the fees are covered in the buildings BC levies which are paid by all the owners is this normal?



        • Hi Debbie

          That does sounds odd. You’ll need to check how the berths are allocated in your body corporate records.

          It is possible that a lot owner got permission to install a marina berth at their own cost. Presumably the marina berth is in a canal and connects to the common property somehow, which would require an approved improvement on common property for which an owner is responsible.

          Or equally all the owners could be paying for the few to have more value.

          Its worth checking out, but you’d need to refer to your own scheme’s records to find out. Maybe discuss with your strata manager.

  3. Great site! I bought a dry dock berth in Brisbane but it is now unuseable due to silt. I just heard that the body corp has taken back my sublease. Can they do that without any compensation?

    • Hi Chris

      I would not have thought so.

      There has been a change in the way that the DERM deal with sea bed leases. A fee is paid and there is no longer a lease, which means no more subleases. I’m not sure of the specifics but maybe you could discuss with your body corporate manager.


  1. […] those lot owners are solely responsible for meeting the entire cost.  The most common example is Marina Berths. Only those lot owners who have a marina berth will pay a marina berth […]

  2. […] Marina berths are occasionally allocated as exclusive use but are more often treated differently because of their inherent differences. […]

Speak Your Mind