Strata FAQs

Emergency Contact Number:

0402 192 713

 

Q. Who is the owners corporation?

A. The owners corporation (body corporate) is made up of each and every unit owner within the development. It is a statutory entity similar to a company.


Q. What is a Managing Agent?

A. Ray White Strata acts as Managing Agent of your owners corporation. We provide secretarial and treasury functions to the owners corporation, and assist the Committee and Owners Corporation members in the proper administration of the owners corporation, in accordance with the Unit Titles Act 2001.

Q. What/Who is the Executive Committee?

A. Some developments choose to have an elected group of unit owners who act on behalf of the corporation. The Executive Committee can be made up of between three and seven unit owners, and is elected each year at the Annual General Meeting. Smaller developments often opt not to elect a Committee as there is no legal requirement to have a separate representative group.

Q. What are Unit Entitlements?

A. When a Units Plan is registered, the units are allocated a unit 'entitlement'. This represents the relationship between the relative values of the units at the time of construction. It is used to allocate the annual budget amongst the unit owners. You will pay the appropriate fraction of the budget to which your unit entitlement relates. The unit entitlements generally do not vary, however, the annual levies will change according to the budget approved at the Annual General Meeting.

Q. What is a Sinking Fund?

A. Under the Unit Titles Act 2001, it is a requirement that each member of an owners corporation contribute to a sinking fund. The fund is for long term maintenance of the common property, such as repairs to roads, sewer mains, and common area lighting. The owners from time to time contribute to the fund so that money is available when required as the Body Corporate ages.

Q. What do my levies pay for?

A. Levies are paid by every owner within a Body Corporate towards the expenses of running the development, such as insurance of the building, water consumption, management fees, care taking/cleaning, common area lighting, and buildings maintenance. A budget is approved at the Annual General Meeting each year to cover these expenses. The total of the budgeted expenditure is divided among unit owners based on their unit entitlements and forms their levy contributions for that year.

Q. How can levies be paid?

A. For your convenience, you may pay your levies at any Australia Post Office using the levy notice forwarded to you when the levy is about to fall due. You may also pay by BPay or via DEFT Payments in accordance with the information at the bottom of your notice.

Q. What approval do I need before undertaking an alteration or addition to my unit?

A. Any structural alterations/additions to walls, windows, etc., whether internal or external, and including pergolas, air conditioners, awnings, sheds, garages and carports, require prior written approval of the corporation. In order to obtain approval, it is necessary for the unit owner to apply, in writing, to the corporation through the Managing Agent. The Body Corporate Manager will then provide advice as to what specific procedures are in place for alterations or additions based on the Articles for the complex. A basic rule of thumb is that if the alteration/addition results in a change to the structure of the unit, or to the appearance of the unit/development, then approval should be sought in the first instance.

Q. Do I need approval to keep a pet at my unit?

A. The Unit Titles Act requires that Owners Corporation approval is sought for the keeping of any pets. If approval is granted, then a record will be entered in the corporation's books so that the particular pet is registered as having been approved. Pets will generally be approved only on the condition that they do not cause a nuisance, or become a disturbance to other residents. The corporation retains the right to require that the pet be removed from the development should this eventuate. It should be noted that the Act precludes the Owners Corporation from unreasonably withholding approval.

Q. Who is responsible for external repainting?

A. In an A Class development, the corporation is responsible for external repainting. In a B Class development, the unit owner is responsible for external repainting, except in a case where the corporation has passed a resolution to undertake repainting on behalf of the unit owners.

Q. Who is responsible for repairs to the fences?

A. In an A Class development, the corporation is responsible for fence repairs. In a B Class development, the fences surrounding each individual unit are the responsibility of the owner of that unit to maintain (and replace, if necessary), unless built on a shared border with common property, in which case the Body Corporate is equally responsible for maintenance. In the case of a fence that divides two units, the two unit owners are jointly responsible.
 
Q. Who is responsible for repairs to the units in an A Class development (multi-level block)?

A. The unit owner is responsible for all internal maintenance and repairs required to that unit, e.g. walls, floors, ceiling. This includes any plumbing which services that unit, whether or not it is inside the unit. The owners corporation is responsible for maintaining and repairing the external walls, roofs, shared stairwells and corridors, and the mains plumbing, i.e. serving more than one unit. In a B Class (townhouse) development, the unit owner is responsible for the maintenance and repair, both internal and external, of the building including any plumbing which services that unit, and is responsible for the grounds which are within the unit boundary.

Q. I have a water/sewer problem in my unit - what should I do?

A. If you have an emergency outside business hours, you should immediately contact a trades person to carry out emergency repairs to minimise the damage. Contact our office on the next business day if you are unsure about who is responsible for the cost of the repair. Depending on the cause of the problem, it may be that the buildings insurer will cover some or all of the repair costs. In an A Class development a water leak originating from the unit above yours will be the responsibility of the owner of that unit to repair the source of the leak. You will need to contact the resident/owner of the unit above to arrange for the repairs as a matter of priority. Any consequential repairs to your unit will be your responsibility but these will normally be claimed on insurance.

Q. Is the buildings insurance cover adequate?

A. Insurance is reviewed at each Annual General Meeting and is usually adjusted by the building cost index. In some situations, such as the rising building costs after the January 2003 fires, the owners corporation will undertake an assessment of the buildings replacement cost to determine whether the insurance is to be increased.
Calculations based on floor area of the units against the published building costs per metre provide a general guide, however the only true way to determine whether the corporation holds adequate cover is to have a professional valuation undertaken. This will be at cost to the corporation, however where the insurance is increased to the assessed valuation, the valuation will be binding on the insurance company in the event of a claim.

Q. How do I lodge an insurance claim?

A. Making a Claim - Step by Step

Take all reasonable steps to stop any further loss occurring. Immediately advise police of any malicious damage, theft, attempted theft or vandalism.

Where the insurance is arranged through our agencies with CGU or CHU: Contact our office and we will lodge a claim on your behalf once you have submitted all of the quotes and invoices and all other information (brief explanation what happened, date of loss, cause (source) of the damage and if this was fixed then provide an invoice as a proof, police report number or third party details, any photos of the damage if needed, etc).

All of the supporting documentation and quotes/invoices have to be submitted at once. Have your Units Plan number handy and ask for insurance.

If the insurance is arranged through a broker or with another insurer (as shown on the AGM minutes) then a claim form may be obtained through that broker or insurer.

Get a quote to repair the damage (if the quote is more than $2000, then two quotes are required). Send quote into our office, along with your claim form or a letter explaining what happened and when (please include as much detail as you can). We will then forward the claim to the insurer on the owner's behalf. The insurer will then advise our office in writing (in approx. 2-3 weeks, in a case that the loss adjuster is appointed or not all information were provided, it will take longer) whether they need additional information, to proceed with the repairs, whether an assessor will be appointed, or whether the damage is not able to be claimed.