Introduction: Owners corporations

 

Owners corporations, formerly known as body corporates, have statutory rights and obligations regarding the maintenance of common areas under several pieces of legislation. Lot entitlement refers to the value of that lot as a portion of the whole property and will affect voting rights. Lot liability for the costs of administering the owners corporation must be equitable.

The registration of a plan of subdivision, which contains common area, in an:

industrial;

commercial;

retail;

residential; or

combined use complex,

automatically creates an “owners corporation” (previously known as the “body corporate”).

Common property is held by the registered owners of individual lots as tenants in common and usually includes gardens, walkways, foyers, storage areas, elevators, stairs, driveways, and communal facilities such as gymnasiums, swimming pools, recreational areas, meeting rooms and air space.

An owners corporation has statutory rights and obligations for:

the welfare and maintenance of the common property; and

the owners and tenants who have a legal interest.

This chapter will focus on the rights and responsibilities of people working and living in these communities and the dispute resolution processes that are available.

Governing legislation

The governing legislation includes:

the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) (“OC Act”)*;

the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 (Vic) (“OC Regulations”);

the Subdivision Act 1988 (Vic) (“Subdivision Act”);

the Subdivision (Registrar’s Requirements) Regulations 2011 (Vic) (“SRR Regulations”);

the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 (Vic) (“ACL&FTA”);

the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) (“VCAT Act”); and

any other law and the registered rules of the owners corporation.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) administers the OC Act and the OC Regulations.

* All section references in this chapter are references to the OC Act, unless otherwise stated.