We act for complex buildings such as Owners Corporations, gated communities, retirement villages, golf courses in relation to a range of strata law matters.
We can assist on implementing subdivision documentation for developers or advise on Owners Corporation governance, management and administration, financial and asset management and insurance.
We collaborate with our litigation and dispute resolution team in the event of a dispute arising, to ensure you have the support you need.
An Owners Corporation (formerly body corporate) is incorporated by registration of a plan or subdivision or a plan of strata or cluster subdivision. If land or part of a building is set aside for common property in a plan of subdivision then an Owners Corporation must be created. An Owners Corporation can also be created to manage shared services within the land affected.
An Owners Corporation manages the common property of a residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use property development. Common property is defined in the plan of subdivision and may include parts of the land, buildings and airspace that are not defined as lots, road or reserves. Common property is collectively owned by all lot owners as ‘tenants-in-common’ rather than a particular person.
Common property can include shared driveways, common gardens, stairs, paths, elevators, lobbies, pools, gyms, and other facilities available to be used by owners and occupiers.
Owners Corporations are responsible for managing the common property. Owners Corporations are regulated by the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) and have the following responsibilities:
An Owners Corporation and body corporate have the same meaning. On 31 December 2007 all body corporates’ became Owners Corporations when the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) came into force.
If you own a property that is affected by an Owners Corporation then you automatically become a member of that Owners Corporation. You cannot opt out of being a member of an Owners Corporation if the property is affected by one. As a member, you have legal and financial responsibilities to the Owners Corporation.
If you own a property that is affected by an Owners Corporation then you automatically become a member of that Owners Corporation. The plan of subdivision will set out responsibilities among the property owners by defining the lot entitlement and lot liability of each lot on the plan.
Lot entitlement is a lot owner’s share of ownership of the common property, and in some cases can determine voting rights.
Lot liability represents the proportion of Owners Corporation administrative and general expenses that each lot owner is obliged to pay.
Each lot entitlement and liability is determined by the developer in conjunction with the licensed surveyor before lodgement of the plan of subdivision at Land Use Victoria. The basis of the entitlement and liability must be described at the time of lodging.
A prescribed Owners Corporation is an Owners Corporation that either:
Owners Corporations which are prescribed have additional financial reporting obligations. One of the additional obligations is the required to have the financial records of the Owners Corporation audited every financial year.
Some developments have multiple Owners Corporations to help lot owners share rights, responsibilities and costs. Properties with multiple Owners Corporations will usually have and unlimited Owners Corporation which owners the common property and one or more limited Owners Corporations which will apply to only some lots.
As a lot owner, you will be a member of one unlimited owners corporation and MAY belong to one or several limited owners corporations.
The most common type of Owners Corporation is an unlimited Owners Corporation. An unlimited Owners Corporation generally manages all land within the Owners Corporation, including services, maintenance and any common property which is not affected by a limited Owners Corporation. This type of Owners Corporation has no limits to how the functions and powers apply as determined by the Owners Corporation Act 2006 (Vic).
A limited Owners Corporation can be referred to as ‘limited’ or ‘limited to common property’. This type of Owners Corporation is limited to common property that is affected by the limited Owners Corporation only. For example, in an apartment building, you may be a member of the Owners Corporation that is responsible for the parking spaces but may not be a member of the Owners Corporations responsible for the lifts.
Yes. There are two types of manager’s who can manage an Owners Corporation. They are:
It is important to note that both volunteer and paid registered managers have the same legal obligations.
A person or company who is paid for managing an Owners Corporation must be registered with Business Licensing Authority.
Pursuant to section 32F of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic), an Owners Corporation is inactive if it has not in the previous 15 months:
Only Owners Corporations with two lot subdivisions are exempt from the insurance obligations of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic). All other Owners Corporations (three or more lots) are required to comply with the insurance requirements. These include reinstatement and replacement insurance and public liability insurance.
It is important to note that insurance is not required if there is no common property and the Owners Corporation has resolved by unanimous resolution that each lot owner will arrange their own lot insurance.
It is also important to note that pursuant to section 11 of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic) a person cannot sell a lot affected by an Owners Corporation unless the vendor or the Owners Corporation has a current insurance policy in accordance with the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic). If you sell a lot without insurance, the purchaser may avoid the sale at any time before the contract is completed.
If you do not pay your Owners Corporation fees an Owners Corporation can charge you penalty interest on the amount owing if this is authorised by resolution. The Owners Corporation can also take action to retrieve the debts in the Magistrate’s Court of Victorian or at the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
If you do not pay fees you lose the right to vote on ordinary resolutions. You can still attend Owners Corporation meetings but can only vote on special or unanimous resolutions.