Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS A BODY CORPORATE MANAGER?
An individual, or company, engaged by the Body Corporate, usually under some form of contract agreement, to assist with managing the affairs of the Body Corporate. Normally, the Body Corporate Manager will carry out most of the functions of the Secretary and Treasurer as well as providing a high level of advice on Body Corporate issues and interpretations of the legislation as it impacts the Body Corporate on day to day issues.
2. WHAT IS THE BODY CORPORATE MANAGER’S FUNCTION?
The duties of the Body Corporate Manager are outlined in the agreement they have with your Body Corporate.
The duties typically are as follows:
- To prepare notices of general meetings including nomination forms, motion requisition forms, agenda, proxy form, voting papers and financial statements
- To prepare and attend the annual general meeting of the body corporate
- To prepare minutes of all general meetings
- To issue levy contribution notices
- To issue reminder notice for those contributions in arrears, and if necessary, arrange debt collection proceedings
- To keep financial records and account transactions
- To pay invoices and accounts on authority of the body corporate
- To prepare annual financial statements and budgets which are to be included in the annual general meeting
- To operate and maintain the bank account of the body corporate
- To assist the body corporate in effecting insurances
- To assist with lodgement of insurance claims
- To maintain the roll and record notices and orders served on the body corporate
- To prepare information certificates and to affix the common seal thereto and supervise inspections as required by legislation.
- To have custody and use of the common seal of the body corporate as required and directed
- To answer and attend to communications as addressed to the body corporate
- To instigate and distribute such letters as may be required to tenants or owners with respect to any infringement of the by-laws
3. HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY FOR BODY CORPORATE MANAGEMENT?
Your Body Corporate Managers are paid a fee agreed to by the body corporate at the time of their engagement plus any increases due to CPI or otherwise agreed to by the body corporate. This fee is incorporated into the overall budgets of the body corporate and is clearly identified as an item in administrative expenditure.
Additional fees may be charged by the Body Corporate Managers for carrying out duties listed as additional services on the agreement at the nominated hourly rate. As an example, these duties may include attendance upon an Auditor or Solicitor, attendance to tribunal, court and dispute applications, and arranging quotations or tradespersons for maintenance issues within the complex. The Body Corporate Managers may also recover from the body corporate the costs of postage and stationery; however this is dependent upon the type of agreement in place.
4. WHAT IS THE ‘COMMITTEE’?
The committee normally comprises owners in the building, however committee members can be those persons nominated by an owner.
Outside of any general meetings of your body corporate, the committee acts for the body corporate on various matters (i.e. building maintenance, budgets, consents/approvals, general meeting agendas). Once the committee is elected at the annual general meeting, the elected committee runs the body corporate for the forthcoming year. They have considerable power under the Act and they need to have this power and authority in order to make decisions in a timely and efficient manner.
The body corporate committee comprises of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7. The positions of Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer (referred to as the Executive) must be filled, and while one person can fill more than one position (e.g. one person could hold all three executive positions), this is not recommended. The remaining 4 positions (referred to as ordinary members) need not be filled but it is desirable in our view to have a good representation of owners on the committee.
5. HOW SHOULD MAINTENANCE ISSUES BE HANDLED?
In the first instance, all maintenance issues should be brought to the attention of the committee. In an emergency this may not always be possible and an owner may be forced to have emergency repairs effected - but such instances will be rare.
The committee, not the Body Corporate Manager, is responsible for the spending, budget control, and building maintenance. The Body Corporate Manager is not an owner or investor in your building, and has no authority to spend monies of body corporate without approval, with the exception of recurring accounts such as community electricity, gardening, pool maintenance. The committee should know about and authorise all irregular/extraordinary building maintenance expenditure.
5.1 What about getting quotes for maintenance works?
The committee, or perhaps another owner who has volunteered, is in the first instance responsible to source quotes for planned and maintenance works, and this will usually involve arranging a time to meet the tradesman on-site to inspect the problem. Please refer to the duties of a Body Corporate Manager; the Body Corporate Manager will advise on maintenance issues. This assistance may extend to offering suggestions about recommended trade contractors to obtain quotes from. It may extend to recommending professional expertise in certain instances e.g. engineers report. It does not extend to phoning trades persons and arranging quotes for your building, or in any way supervising works – this is a committee function.
Once the committee has received and considered the quotes, it may be necessary if the sum involved is above the committee’s expenditure limit, to discuss with the Body Corporate Manager how the monies are to be raised and/or expenditure is to be approved. When the expenditure approval is obtained, the committee is free to arrange with the selected contractor to have the works carried out, and when completed to the committee’s satisfaction, have the invoice forwarded to the Body Corporate Manager for payment.
6. WHO DECIDES HOW MUCH OUR LEVIES ARE GOING TO BE?
All owners within a body corporate have the chance to consider and vote on the proposed annual budget of the body corporate. The approved annual budget determines the levies payable by each owner. The annual budget and subsequent levies for the administration fund and sinking fund are determined each year at the annual general meeting. The levy amounts are calculated on the annual expenses of the body corporate and include any projected price increases on services or contracts. Your Body Corporate Manager will assist by working with the committee and putting forward proposed budgets for consideration. At the AGM these proposed budgets can be discussed and modified by a maximum of 10% if required.
The annual budget is approved by a majority resolution of owners at the annual general meeting.
7. WHAT RULES GOVERN HOW A BODY CORPORATE IS SUPPOSED TO OPERATE?
The Body Corporate and Community Management Act (1997), together with the associated Regulation Modules [Standard Module, Accommodation Module, Commercial Module, or Small Schemes Module], is the legislation governing how every aspect of a Body Corporate is to function.
7.1 Can I get a copy of this legislation?
Yes, anyone can purchase the Act and associated Regulations from the State Government website.
8. WHAT IF I DON’T AGREE WITH SOMETHING MY BODY CORPORATE HAS DONE?
In the first instance you should discuss the matter with the committee. Alternatively, you can contact the Body Corporate Manager. It is suggested that any dispute matters be forwarded to our office in writing.
Often times there may just be a misunderstanding, or an owner may not realise the procedures and processes that must be followed, and the misunderstanding can be resolved easily. Ultimately, any member of the body corporate can access the dispute resolution processes of the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management – but, as stated, this should be the last resort after first attempting to resolve the issue with discussions between the committee and the Body Corporate Manager.
For further information about Bodies Corporate and the Office of the Commissioner, please visit the relevant Government website using the below link.