Crockers Client Webinar | Body Corporate Basics

We've answered all your questions from our client webinar: Body Corporate Basics | The Nuts & Bolts of Body Corporate Life

Frequently Asked Questions

If minority relief is sought, which entity hears this?

Depending on the nature and amount of a minority relief claim, cases can be heard in either the Tenancy Tribunal, District Court or the High Court.

Are minority relief cases often successful?

Minority relief cases are extremely rare. Crockers is not aware of any that have actually been pursued.

Are BC chairpersons responsible for health and safety issues, such as enforcing constraints on tradespeople while they are on-site for repair work?

It is the obligation of the BC Chairperson and/or BC Committee to ensure that tradespeople are provided with a copy of the BC's hazard register and that they are advised not to attend the site unless they have the suitable qualifications and H&S protocols to complete the tasks they are to do on your site.

Will you clarify the extent of decision making that sits with the Chair, and with the committee?

Every BC is different; however, the extent of decision making that the BC Committee have is usually delegated to them at an AGM by way of special resolution. The Committee Chair has the same level of duties and power as all other committee members unless resolved otherwise at a committee meeting e.g. Committee may delegate that the Chair can approve for payment of any and all invoices to a certain value e.g. $500.

Nikki Kaye was working on a revision of the Unit Titles Act. With her resignation from Parliament has anyone picked up this?

Yes, this is a Member's Bill which is sponsored by Nicola Willis. Crockers put forward a submission to the government, proposed changes and also presented it to the Finance & Select Committee on 27th May 2021. Our CEO Helen O'Sullivan has also met with MP Chloe Swarbrick and MP Helen White to further discuss the points in our submission.

The Finance & Select Committee are scheduled to report back on 8th November 2021.

The presenter skipped over the role of the BC Chair. Do they do anything?

If the BC Chair's powers and duties are delegated to the BC Committee, then the BC Chair position becomes a moot point. In a large majority of cases, this is what happens.

Do the BCC and Chair get paid?

On occasion, some or all members of the committee are paid an honorarium for the work they undertake. For this to occur, general practice is for honorariums to be included in the BC's budget and this is then approved as an ordinary resolution at the AGM.

How many BCC members are there in 90-unit apartments?

There is no set rule on the number of committee members you can or should have on a BC committee. Having too few committee members may lead to an excessive amount of work being placed on too few owners. Having too many committee members may make it more difficult to get an agreement on decisions that need to be made.

Usually between 5 and 9 members works well depending on the size of the BC. Having an uneven number of committee members is recommended as this can assist with getting a majority vote on contentious matters.

Is it compulsory for all the owners to attend meetings like AGM?

No, it is not compulsory. However, this is strongly recommended that owners attend General Meetings to have their say and ensure their best interests are being met.

Can you vote if the BC allows for instalment payments (which are up to date) but not fully paid?

The Unit Titles Act does not allow an Owner to have a vote at a General Meeting if their payments are not made in full, on or before the due date of their levies invoice. If any repayment plan is entered into with the BC Committee and payments are agreed to be made after the due date of the levy invoice, the Owner will still not get a vote at the General Meeting.

If the committee is running the polls, is there a mechanism in place to make sure they attribute the right weight to the poll responses? (i.e. applying the interest/utility part)

A poll vote is only called at a General Meeting and will be facilitated by an independent party such as your BC Manager. Attendees can check the accuracy of the calculations of the poll vote at any time prior to the poll vote being called as carried or failed by the Chair of the meeting.

Can the costs of a project be spread differently from the commercial interest when the benefits of the project might impact owners differently? (eg. Commercial vs. Residential BC members)

All monies raised by Owners to pay for costs are raised on utility interest percentages. If Owners want to apply a different allocation, then they must apply to the Court to do so.

Can owners attend committee meetings or is it just the committee members that can attend?

Owners cannot attend the committee meeting unless invited to do so by the committee. The only non-committee member that can attend committee meetings is the BC Chair which would only occur in the rare event that the BC Chair isn't also voted in as the BC Committee Chair.

Is there a minimum requirement and frequency of communication of the BC Committee and Chair outside of the AGM? I’ve never had any communication outside of the AGM.

There is no minimum requirement or frequency of communication from the BC Committee or Chair to Owners. Ordinarily, the Chair would provide an update on matters at the AGM only.

If there is a major project occurring at a complex, then more frequent communication may occur.

Can you please comment on the advantages of the new legislation being prepared?

A couple of key advantages to the proposed amendments to the UTA are:

  • Having the ability to hold General Meetings virtually.
  • Increased level of disclosure to potential purchasers of a body corporate unit.
  • Proposed framework for regulating body corporate managers.

However, there are a number of areas where Crockers believes the Bill could go further.

Please follow this link to Crockers Submission for more details.

Who determines what is an agenda item as opposed to a general business item?

The BC Committee determine the agenda. There are certain agenda items required to be discussed under the UTA e.g. BC budget. Owners are able to put forward agenda items that usually fall under the category of General Business.

What happens if one member of the BC cannot pay for a prolonged period of time? What tools do we have to try to get that money?

If an owner does not pay their levies and they become overdue, debt collection activity will be commenced. Further details of Crockers debt collection process can be found on our website. If the overdue levies continue to remain unpaid after the debt collection process, the BC may pursue the matter further via the Tenancy Tribunal.

Regarding repairs - is it the building management job or of the BC to obtain quotes for work required?

Obtaining quotes for repairs would ordinarily be done by the building manager. If your BC does not employ a building manager, your BC manager will be able to obtain quotes for minor repairs required by the BC.

Can you expand on the Directors + Officers cover for the BC Committee?

Office Bearers/Committee Liability Insurance is an insurance policy that covers committee members from financial liability should legal action be taken against them by an aggrieved party that alleges to have suffered a loss due to a decision made or action taken by the committee in relation to their BC.

Does the Unit Titles Act say a minimum that must be spent on Long Term Maintenance?

There is no minimum amount required to be placed in the Long Term Maintenance Fund (LTMF). A Long Term Maintenance Plan (LTMP) will outline how much money should be placed into the LTMF however there is no legal requirement to adhere to this. A BC can also vote by special resolution not to establish an LTMF.

Is there a condensed summary of the UTA for the sort of issues that a Body Corp deals with on a regular basis?

Various body corporate management firms and some legal firms refer to varying degrees of the UTA and the types of issues that a BC may face however there is no single comprehensive point of resource. It is for this reason that Crockers decided to run these webinars in an effort to help educate our clients on body corporate life and support stronger, happier communities.