What is an Owner’s Corporation?

An owners corporation (formerly body corporate) is a body of owners that manage the common property of a residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use property development. The common property is defined as any property not on title to any one particular owner include stairs, paths, elevators, lobbies, driveways, pools, common garden areas and other facilities set up for use by owners and occupiers.
An Owners Corporation may be created in any subdivision - residential, retail, commercial, industrial or mixed use. More than one owners corporation can be created in a subdivision of land or buildings.

How does an Owners Corporation come about?

An Owners Corporation is automatically created when a plan of subdivision containing common property is registered at Land Victoria. The plan of subdivision shows the parcels of land that can be sold separately, called 'lots'. Lot owners are the members of the owners corporation for the property.

What are the duties of an Owners Corporation?

In general terms, the owners corporation should manage and administer works on the common property areas and enforce, the related Rules and Regulations, and By-Laws.
Accordingly, it is the duty of the owners corporation to ensure the areas and facilities it is responsible for are maintained in a serviceable state, undertaking all relative administration tasks, including obtaining comparative quotations for repair works and / or improvement works as necessary.
Maintenance of facilities extends also to the common area chattels, fixtures and fittings, ensuring attention is given to lifts, fire escapes, and all apparatus/equipment services for which an easement exists (eg. Service meters, such as gas, electricity, water etc.).
The insurance cover placed on the building is also the responsibility of the owners corporation, ensuring the appropriate policy is maintained; requiring both a review of the previous years cover and prompt payment of the relevant premium.

What regulates an Owners Corporation in Victoria?

The Owners Corporations Act 2006 and the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 regulate Owners Corporations in Victoria.

Where can I obtain a copy of the Act and Regulations?

The Owners Corporations Act 2006 and the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 are available through Consumer Affairs Victoria link.
You can also read a complete PDF of the Act and the Regulations here.

What is an Owners Corporation Manager?

An Owners Corporation manager is a specialist that deals in the running of an owners corporation. Many owners corporations use professional managers to assist with finances, insurance, administration, meetings and maintenance functions. Larger owners corporations usually engage paid professional managers because complex legal, technical and people skills are required to manage the property.
An owners corporation may appoint a manager to carry out any powers or functions it is able to delegate at a general meeting. The owners corporation usually delegates powers to a manager in a contract or instrument of delegation. This enables the manager to make decisions on behalf of the owners corporation.

What are some of the duties of the Owners Corporation Manager?

Duties include but are not limited to:

managing the financial accounts of the Body Corporate;
looking after insurance matters - claims and renewals, and Owner's queries;
managing the correspondence with Owners, contractors, and other 3rd parties;
drawing up proposed new budgets each financial year;
calling the AGM, and sending out related Notices, Nominations etc;
holding of the AGM, and issuing the Minutes following the meeting;
setting up the new budgets adopted at the AGM, and the resulting Levies;
attending to the issuance of Disclosure Statements for Owners selling their Lot;
attending to the calling of any EGM;
managing Committee issues, including calling of Committee Meetings and issuing Minutes of those meetings;
advising any Owner on matters of Body Corporate law and procedure and;
managing any dispute and resolutions that may arise.

Why it is recommended to use a professional Owners Corporation (Body Corporate Strata Manager)

Though members 'self management' is an option, the appointment of a professional management company is highly recommended to ensure that the respective owners corporations are being administered in accordance with the rulings and regulations imposed by the Act and its Regulations as amended.
Owners should note also that 'Standard Rules' or 'Additional Rules' (depending on what has been registered on the Plan of Subdivision) also may apply within the confines of a development and are applicable to all residents, ie. owners and tenants. A Owners Corporation agent, being an impartial body, is in a position to enforce these rules ensuring little or no disharmony amongst occupants.