Body corporate maintenance, who is responsible for what?

Body corporate maintenance, who is responsible for what article header

Body corporate maintenance, who is responsible for what?

Are you feeling confused over whether a maintenance issue is your responsibility as a lot owner, or the body corporate?

 

When it comes to community living, it’s usually understood that the body corporate is responsible for maintenance of common property, while the lot owner has the responsibility of maintaining his or her lot. This seems simple enough however issues often arise.

The starting point is your survey plan. This shows the boundaries between common property and the unit or apartment. In Queensland, there are two types of subdivision survey plans:

  • Building Format Plan (BFP)
  • Standard Format Plan (SFP)

PICA Group helps to address 2 main questions for body corporate maintenance issue responsibilities:

  1. Who pays for body corporate maintenance?

  2. Who is responsible for body corporate utility maintenance?

 

Who pays for body corporate maintenance?

Body corporate repairs and maintenance responsibilities are determined by format plan, which come as two types: a building format plan or standard format plan

  • A building format plan

A building format plan is a subdivision which usually applies to multi-storey complexes (vertical developments), and in some cases, townhouses. While the term ‘strata title’ is not used in Queensland, most building format plans are a subdivision in strata.

Body corporate maintenance responsibilities:

  • Garage doors and their fittings
  • Roads, gardens and lawns on common property
  • The foundations and roof, including the roofing membranes
  • Essential supporting framework of the building, including load-bearing walls
  • Facilities on common property such as swimming pools, gyms and barbeque areas
  • Pipes, cables, wires, drains, sewers, plant and equipment that services the building
  • The outside of the building including doors, windows and fittings, and balcony railings.

Lot owner maintenance responsibilities:

  • Doors and windows leading onto a balcony
  • The inside of the lot, including all fixtures and fittings inside the lot
  • Any fixtures or fittings that were installed by the owner for their benefit
  • Exclusive use areas the owner has the benefit of (unless the exclusive use by-law says otherwise)
  • Pipes, cables, wires, drains, plant and equipment such as air conditioning, a clothes dryer, hot water system, that services the unit or apartment only.

 

  • A standard format plan

A standard format plan is typically used for community title schemes such as a townhouse complex where each lot has a building and garden. The boundaries of lots are defined by the measurements shown on the survey plan and any marks put on the ground when the survey was done.

Body corporate maintenance responsibilities:

  • Pest control on common property
  • Roads, gardens and lawns on common property
  • Facilities on common property like swimming pools or BBQs
  • Pipes, cables, wires, drains, sewers, plant and equipment which supply a service to more than one unit or apartment.

Lot owner maintenance responsibilities:

  • Pest control within their lot
  • Their lot, including all lawns and gardens within their boundary
  • Any fixtures or fittings that were installed by the occupier for their benefit
  • Exclusive use areas, if applicable or unless the exclusive use by-law says otherwise
  • Pipes, cables, wires, drains, plant and equipment that only services their unit or apartment
  • Their building’s foundations and roof and the painting, exterior walls, doors, windows and roof.

Under a standard format plan where buildings have common walls, the owners sharing a common wall are jointly responsible for any maintenance issues relating to it. The body corporate has no maintenance responsibility because there is no common property involved.

 

Who is responsible for body corporate utility maintenance?

The pipes, ducts, cables, wires, sewers, drains, plant and equipment, that supply utilities such as water, electricity, telecommunications, drainage, and sewers, are the responsibility of the body corporate if these are located on common property or it services more than one lot.

If the utility infrastructure is not part of common property, the lot owner is generally responsible for maintaining it.

For example, a lot owner is responsible for the body corporate repairs and maintenance of pipes and wires connected to the air conditioning that services his or her individual lot. If the air conditioning system was part of a centralised system, that serviced multiple lots, the body corporate would be responsible.

 

If you’d like to find out more on what you can or can’t do at your body corporate property, click here to download our FREE Community Living guide on building compliance. Or click here to ask a question at StrataFAQ.com.au.