What is an Owners Corporation?
Take a close look at the entrance to any block of privately owned flats or apartments. You’ll almost certainly see a sign or a letter box dedicated to a Body Corporate, or Owners Corporation (OC). This is the name of the organisation elected by unit or lot owners to manage the affairs of the public spaces and assets of the facility.
They go by a variety of names and fall under different legislation in each of the states around Australia.
Victorian Owners Corporations
In Victoria, they were generally know as Body Corporates until 2006 when new legislation was introduced to deal with the rapid growth in community living.
This was especially so for the city of Melbourne which has recently become the Australian leader in apartment and high rise construction. The legislation changed the name to Owners Corporations. Old habits die hard, however, and the term Body Corporate is still in common, but declining use.
In Victoria, the Owners Corporations Act 2006 sets out your rights and responsibilities as the owner of a property or properties in a community housing setting controlled by an Owners Corporation.
Owners Corporations around Australia
In New South Wales they’re also known as Owners Corporations or Body Corporates, and you will sometimes see the term Strata Plan or Strata Scheme used.
In Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory, the official term under both states legislation remains Body Corporates.
South Australia uses the term Strata Corporation, and Western Australia calls them Strata Companies.
Under Victorian law, an Owners Corporation (OC) is an organisation responsible for looking after the shared elements of your community property. These elements generally include the grounds, gardens, footpaths, walkways, corridors, stairs, lifts, foyers and other assets that you and your fellow lot owners use together but don’t own individually.
Common property is listed on the Plan of Subdivision, a document registered with and held by Land Victoria. Land Victoria administers the Act in Victoria on behalf of the state government.
When you buy a lot, or lots, in a multi unit community, you automatically become a member of the Owners Corporation. Remember, though, this is different from the OC committee, which is elected by all members to carry out the functions of the OC.
Understanding your rights and obligations under this legislation can be challenging. That’s why the services of a reputable Owners Corporation services provider can:
- Lift the burden of compliance you and your fellow strata community owners and occupiers carry
- Boost the enjoyment, amenity and peace of mind you serve living in your shared community
- Add substantial value to the asset or assets you own.
If you want to go into further detail, visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing or talk to our professional Owners Corporation Managers on 03 8697 0600.
For comprehensive access to issues relating to Owners Corporation issues in your state, visit https://www.lookupstrata.com.au/strata-rules-and-bylaws/.
Ben Willox is Managing Director at Turnbull Cook, one of Melbourne’s oldest and most experienced owners corporation service provider. For a free downloadable e-report on the top tips for finding and hiring a great OC manager, visit www.turnbullcook.com.au/top10tips