Dealing with a body corporate
If you own a property which is a complex with other private properties inside you will be a member of a body corporate.
This page will give you information on the roles and responsibilities of a body corporate.
When you buy into a development that includes multiple properties, a body corporate will be created when the unit plan is registered with the Land Titles Office.
All the owners automatically become members of the body corporate.
The body corporate manages the common areas on behalf of all the owners. This includes areas such as lifts, swimming pools, parking areas and gardens.
The body corporate must:
- keep proper records of meetings
- maintain a register of decisions and motions
- maintain and manage accurate accounts
- keep a register of all unit owners and committee members and
- make the paper work available for owners to inspect.
Legal responsibilities of a body corporate
A body corporate has legal responsibilities under the Unit Titles Act 1975.
- insurance and finances
- enforcing the agreed articles and rules
- keeping common areas and facilities in good repair.
The body corporate or its elected committee can delegate some or all of its powers and duties to a licensed body corporate manager.
The body corporate manager cannot delegate its powers of delegation.
They also cannot make a decision on a restricted matter that can only be decided by a unanimous or special resolution of the property owners.
The delegation of powers can only be decided at a general meeting of the property owners.
A body corporate manager who is paid must hold an NT licence under the NT Agents Licensing Act 1979.
They must also be appointed under a legal management agreement or contract.
This agreement gives details of the services to be provided and the fees and other charges to be paid.
A licensed agent must keep all money in a trust account and hold professional indemnity insurance.
Before you appoint a manager
Talk to a few agents to compare services and fees.
Check they are licensed in the NT by calling your local Licensing NT office.
Powers of a body corporate manager
The body corporate manager can only carry out the duties agreed to in a management agreement and any other powers that have been delegated.
The body corporate manager can't make decisions, they can only support the body corporate to make fair and legally enforceable decisions.
A licensed body corporate manager must act in the best interests of the body corporate and carry out instructions, except when these are unreasonable or illegal.
Under the Agents Licensing Act code of conduct, a body corporate manager must be professional when carrying out duties and disclose any potential conflicts of interest.
Below are other services a body corporate manager should provide.
A body corporate manager should provide all of these administration services:
- daily correspondence
- responding to members queries and concerns
- keeping and maintaining records
- sending notices
- completing transfer of ownership statements
- calling meetings
- maintaining the strata roll
- supervising use of the common seal.
A body corporate manager should provide all of these accounts duties:
- accurate accounts
- prepare financial statements
- send quarterly contribution accounts to members
- record payments
- draft the annual budget
- arrange the collection of debts.
A body corporate manager should also provide all of these duties:
- conduct financial planning and prepare short and long term budgets
- handle complaints and breaches of the articles or rules
- arrange maintenance and repairs of the common property and building
- identify insurance needs, purchase of policy and handling claims
- meet with:
- property managers
- sales agents
- trades persons.
The management fee and other charges must be included in the management agreement.
You can negotiate these fees with the agent
The management agreement must also include any other fees or costs that will be charged such as holding additional meetings, and attending any legal hearings.
If your body corporate wants to end or cancel your current management agreement you must check the termination clause to see how much notice you must give in advance.
The notice to end the agreement must be in writing or the body corporate may be liable for an early termination fee.
When the agreement ends the body corporate must provide instructions for the handover of all official documents, records and funds held in trust.
You should seek independent legal advice if your problem relates to any of the following:
- owners corporation rules
You may be able to have your dispute heard at the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT).
If you have a complaint about a paid body corporate manager who is a licensed real estate agent you can contact Licensing NT.
Licensing NT deal with applications for disciplinary action when agents break the law.
Last updated: 24 May 2019