FAQS 2017-09-03T16:04:32+00:00

THE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PREPARED BY NORTH MANAGEMENT ARE BASED ON OUR INTERPRETATION OF THE LEGISLATION AND OUR OPINIONS. THESE ANSWERS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED ON FOR THIS PURPOSE.

The body corporate is set up to manage and maintain the common property of a strata development or more simply a block of units. Building Management Corporations or Management Corporations are larger forms of Body Corporate’s.

The chairman is the spokesperson for the members. The chairman has the authority to make certain decisions. This authority is set down in the legislation and may be added to by the members through the process of meetings and the passing of resolutions.

The body corporate manager’s role is primarily one of administering the body corporate. That is sending out levy accounts, collecting the fees, maintaining the bank account, paying the bills and conducting the AGM. The manager is required to carry out their duties in accordance with the unit titles act.

The management agreement sets out more specific functions to be carried out by the manager and is negotiated with the members or by delegation to the committee.

The primary insurance held by the body corporate is for the repair or replacement of the whole building and public liability cover for the common property. It covers the building insurance of each individual owners unit.

Specific policies are available for body corporate’s which may or may not include, loss of rent, electrical equipment and committee member’s liability cover.

Unit owners must insure their own property contents. The public liability insurance for the body corporate does not cover inside private units.

A budget is usually prepared based on the expenditure of the previous year plus any adjustments for future works or extraordinary spending in the previous year taking into consideration inflation.

The draft budget is circulated to the members with the agenda for the Annual General Meeting. At the meeting the budget is reviewed and a motion is put to approve the budget. If a majority votes in favour of the budget it is approved and is then used to calculate how much each unit owner will be charged for the year.

Fees are calculated based on the unit entitlement of each unit as a factor of the total unit entitlement for a building.

Fees are charged quarterly in advance.

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The changes to the law are important because, as from 1 October 2009:

new rules apply to the operation of bodies corporate established under the Unit Titles Act; and new requirements apply to the type of vote that may apply when a body corporate is making a decision (e.g. whether the vote needs to be a majority vote or a unanimous vote).

On and from 1 October 2009, the rules that apply will depend on whether a body corporate is a “small plan” or a “standard plan”. See question 2 as to what is a “small plan” and what is a “standard plan”.

If a body corporate is part of a “small plan” the rules that apply are contained in Part V of the Unit Titles Act and in schedule 2 to the Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations.

If a body corporate is part of a “standard plan” the rules that apply are contained in Part V of the Unit Titles Act and in schedule 1 to the Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations.

A “small plan” is one where there are less than four units. However, a condominium development, an estate development or a building development plan cannot be a “small plan” even if the number of units is less than four.

A “standard plan” is a plan where there are four or more units or where the plan relates to a condominium development, an estate development or a building development.

The main relevant Acts (for body corporate managers) are the Unit Titles Act and the Unit Title Schemes Act 2009.

On 1 July 2009 most of the provisions of the following Acts commenced operation:

Land Title and Related Legislation Amendment Act 2008

Unit Title Schemes Act 2009.

Of relevance to this document, the Land Title and Related Legislation Amendment Act 2008 amended the Unit Titles Act so that:

Most of Part V of the Unit Titles Act is repealed; regulations can be made providing for “management modules”. Additionally, the Unit Title Schemes Act made the following amendments to the Unit Titles Act:

It amended the voting provisions so that the definitions of terms such as “majority resolution”, “ordinary resolution”. “resolution without dissent”, “special resolution” and “unanimous resolution” lined up with the definitions in the Unit Title Schemes Act;

It amended some of the provisions in the Unit Titles Act regarding the type of vote required. For example: resolutions relating to sections 42(2)(granting or acquiring of easements), 42A(2) (adding land to the common property), 42B (leasing of common property) changed from being “unanimous resolutions” to being “resolutions without dissent” resolutions for the purposes of clause 2(4)(f) (keeping of animals and birds) of the articles changed from “unanimous resolution” to “majority resolution”;

Resolutions for the purposes of clause 2(4)(e) (erection of structures) of the articles changed from “special resolution” to “majority resolution”;

Resolutions for the purposes of clause 4 (damaging of common property) of the articles changed from “approval in writing” to “majority resolution”

The new management modules commenced operation on 1 October 2009. The provisions of Part V of the Unit Titles Act as in force on 30 June 2009 continued to apply for the period 1 July 2009 to 30 September 2009.

A “majority resolution” is one where the number of votes counted in favour of a motion exceeds 50% of the total number of units.

This is the voting requirement for resolutions contained in:

Unit Titles Act

• Schedule 2(4)(e) (erection or alteration of structures in a unit)

• Schedule 2(4)(f) (keeping of animals or birds in unit or on common property)

• Schedule 2A (withdrawal of permissions about the keeping of animals or birds)

• Schedule 4 (‘damage’ to common property – eg putting screws in a wall that is common property)

Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations

There are no references to majority decisions contained in the management modules.

An “ordinary resolution” is one where the management modules states that the vote is to occur by way of ordinary resolution and if the unit entitlements of the units in the votes counted in favour of a motion exceeds the unit entitlement of the units against the motion.

This is the voting requirement for resolutions contained in:

Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations

Clause 2(2) (all motions at general meetings unless the management modules provides to the contrary),

Clause 12(c) (one of the methods of calling a meeting of the committee) and

Clause 54(3) (delegations) of the management modules (for standard plans).

Unit Titles Act

None of the provisions in the Unit Titles Act require motions permit them to be passed by ordinary resolution

A “resolution without dissent” is one where no vote is counted against the motion. This is the voting requirement for resolutions contained in:

Unit Titles Act

Section 40 (borrowing of money),

Section 42(purchasing and selling of property),

Section 42A (additional common property),

Section 42B (leasing of common property by corporations other than estate management or building management corporations) and

Section 53(1A)(a)(expenditure in excess, for matters other than health, safety or security, of amount prescribed by Section 53(2), currently $200 per unit)

Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations

Clause 4(3)(exercise of powers and functions of the corporation by committees) of the management modules (for standard plans) and matters that, pursuant to decisions taken at the first annual general meeting, must be decided by a resolution without dissent (clauses 23 and 26 of the management modules (for standard plans)

A “special resolution” is one where at least 2/3rd of the number of votes counted are in favour of a motion and the unit entitlements of the votes against the motion do not exceed 25% of the total number of units entitlements. This is the voting requirement for resolutions contained in:

Unit Titles Act

Section 42B(2) and (3) (leasing of common property by statement management corporations and building management corporations),

Section 43 (agreements with members for the repair and maintenance of units),

Section 44(2) (termination of special privileges relating to common property),

Section 53(1) (expenditure in excess of the amount determined in accordance with section 36(1)),

Section 53(2) (to override limitation on expenditure under 53(1) to amount less that the prescribed amount per unit (currently $200) unless, for essential health , safety or security reasons,)78(1) (alteration of articles). Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations

Clause 5(2)(b) (variations in the number of committee members) of the management modules (for standard plans) and matters that, pursuant to decisions taken at the first annual general meeting, must be decided by a special resolution, (clauses 23 and 26 of the management modules (for standard plans)

A “unanimous resolution” is one where the number of votes counted in favour of a motion is the same as the number of units (i.e. all units vote for the motion). See used in the following provisions::

Unit Titles Act

Section 36(4)(b) (decision that contributions be shared contrary to the respective proportions of unit entitlements (ie as per section 36(3)) and

Section 44(1)(grant of special privileges relating to common property) Unit Titles (Management Modules) Regulations

Matters that, pursuant to decisions taken at the first annual general meeting, must be decided by a special resolution, a resolution without dissent or a unanimous resolution (clauses 23 and 26 of the management modules (for standard plans)

An “interim resolution” is a resolution made at a meeting of a corporation where there was no quorum. Where this occurs the Secretary must give a copy of the resolution to each member.

An interim resolution of a corporation becomes a resolution of the corporation if no further meeting is called within 28 days or if the decision is confirmed at a meeting that takes place within those 28 days.

In order to be legally effective, a decision should be made at either a committee meeting or at a meeting of the corporation (subject to the comments made above concerning interim resolutions).

Yes, breaches of some of the clauses do constitute offences. See below for the details.

6 Offences

(1) The original proprietor for a small or standard plan must comply with a requirement under the management module applying to the corporation that the original proprietor give the corporation, or the committee of the corporation, particular documents at the first annual general meeting of the corporation. Maximum penalty: 100 penalty units.

(2) Each committee member commits an offence if the committee for a standard plan fails to comply with a requirement under the management module applying to the corporation that the committee:

Ensure particular records are kept for the corporation; and prepare a financial statement at the end of a financial year showing particular information. Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

A member is not financial if they have not paid the amount by the time the amount is due to be paid.

Thus if an amount is due on 30 September 2009 and has not been paid by that day the member will be a non financial member after 30 September 2009. They will remain non financial until such time as the outstanding amount is paid.

Non financial members lose the right to vote unless the resolution is one that requires a unanimous resolution or a resolution without dissent.

In the main this is a land use matter regulated by the Planning Act.

However, if the use of the land is in breach of the Planning Act, article 2(4)(d) may apply. Other articles relating to uses that cause substantial annoyance may also apply (article 2(4)(d))

The scheme supervisor is a person appointed by the Minister to hold or occupy that office. The position is the central point of contact concerning issues with the operation of the unit tiles legislation and has functions and powers given under the Unit Title Schemes Act. The scheme supervisor has no formal powers in respect of the Unit Titles Act.

The current scheme supervisor is Robert Bradshaw, until 31 December 2009. After that day Micheil Brodie.

A body corporate has the powers, authorities, duties and functions conferred or imposed by or under the Unit Titles Act.

Parts of the complex not within a unit as defined by the units plan. Common property can include lawns, gardens, driveways, garbage storage areas, stairs and infrastructure such as pipes and wiring.

In simple terms, it is the privately owned area or space within a units subdivision

Aside from references to building units, the word “building” is only used in the Act or in the management module in:

The definitions of “structural cubic space” and in section 4(2) of the Unit Titles Act (dealing with boundaries); and section 47A of the Unit Titles Act (restrictions on the power of a corporation to do certain things in the initial period of the life of a units plan). The word “building” is not defined in either the Unit Titles Act or in any general legislation such as the Interpretation Act.

Most issues relating to “buildings” involve the question of whether parts of the building are within units or common property. Common property is the entire parcel of land that is not part of a unit.

Generally speaking:

Those parts of a building that are “structural cubic spaces” are not part of the unit; those parts of a building (constituting boundaries between units) that are between walls or between a ceiling and a floor are not part of a unit. However, these general principles can be displaced by the units plan which can provide for different boundaries.

Yes, a person can be given a special privilege relating to common property if authorised by unanimous resolution provided special privilege is not be a lease.

By monies held in sinking fund, by raising special levy or by financing.

It may borrow monies if authorised by a resolution without dissent.

The body corporate may serve a notice in writing giving particulars of the breach and requiring remedy with period specified.

No, the Unit Titles Schemes Act provides for by-laws of a scheme that are either standard or as specified in the scheme statement. A contravention of a by-law leaves the offender liable to a maximum fine of 20 penalty units, which is $2600.

The body corporate rather than the police or government.

Same as Unit Titles Act. Disputes will continue to be dealt with by the Local Court

The Supreme Court deals with matters such as the cancellation and alteration of units plans.

No, except as provided for by Part V of the Unit Titles Act.

Yes, a proprietor, mortgagee of a unit or person authorised by proprietor may inspect.

Yes, the body corporate is entitled to charge a fee for supplying a certificate or making books and records available, not exceeding the cost to provide the service.

As a general rule body corporate managers must be licensed.

For the purposes of the Agents Licensing Act, a person must be licensed as a “real estate agent” if they are a body corporate manager as referred to in section 87(1) of the Unit Title Schemes Act or are a person who for reward exercises a power or performs a function on behalf of a corporation or members of a corporation under the Unit Titles Act.

The difference between the two is that a person who deals with the administration of units under the Unit Titles Act is only required to be licensed if they are paid for what they do. A person who administers units under the Unit Title Schemes Act is required to be licensed regardless of whether they are paid. However, under the Agents Licensing Act, the Agents Licensing Board may grant exemptions from the need for a licence. The Board has not yet considered the issue.

Under section 52 of the Unit Titles Schemes (Management Modules) Regulations which now apply to both the existing Unit Titles Act and the new Unit Titles Schemes Act Clause;

52 Interest on late payment

(1) The body corporate may charge interest for the late payment of contributions and special levies.

(2) The interest rate is:

(a) an amount, decided by the body corporate, not more than the rate fixed from time to time for section 85 of the Supreme Court Act; or

(b) if the body corporate does not decide an amount – the rate fixed from time to time for section 85 of the Supreme Court Act.

(3) The body corporate may decide to waive the interest in a particular case.

The Interest Entitlements are set by a valuer and based on valuations of all the units at the time of the issue of the unit plans. These may or may not be the same as the Contribution Entitlements which determine what share of a budget each unit is responsible for contributing.

The key matters, in a developer working out what should be the Contribution Entitlements requirement, are set out in section 39(6) (copied below). The section operates so that the contribution levy does not have to the same share of the total for all of the units if the factors referred to in subsection (6) apply.

Thus, if the scheme is such that the running costs of operating the part of it in which the unit is located are higher for that part than the other parts then there is justification for the Contribution Entitlements levy being different, For example, one part might have a lift (which costs money to operate) whilst other part might not have a lift.

A cavalier developer needs also to take account of section 40 (see also copied below). It permits the Local Court to adjust unit entitlements on the same basis that the developer should have considered when making the original decision. That is, the purpose of section 40(4) is to permit the court to go back in time to when the original determination was made and, on the basis of the facts as at that time, make a determination. What the developer should be doing is assessing what are the likely costs for the development as a whole and then working out what is the fair share for each unit to bear. The key policy principle is the view of any departure from that of equal responsibility needs to be justified by reference to some facts as set out in (6). The developer needs to get a valuation but this is probably of not of particular relevance to the Contribution Entitlements.

The above information is consistent with the explanatory statement tabled when the legislation was introduced. The relevant parts of the explanatory statement are:

Clause 39. Unit entitlements

This clause defines contribution schedule, interest schedule and unit entitlement. It also (in effect) defines contribution entitlement and interest entitlement.

These definitions provide, respectively, for:

· the basis for working out shares of costs in running the scheme; and

· the basis for working out respective shares in the event that the scheme is dissolved (and like matters).

The clause also provides for the basis on which the entitlements are determined for the purpose of the scheme statement that is lodged as referred to in clause 18(1)(d). The responsibility for lodging the initial scheme statement rests with the original owner (developer) of the land as set out in clause 20(1)(a).

In preparing the contribution entitlement the person responsible for the scheme statement must ensure that the contributions are equal unless it is just and equitable to do otherwise. However the developer may also take into account the characteristics of the scheme and the units, whether the scheme is layered and the market value of the units.

In preparing the interest entitlement the person responsible for lodging the scheme statement must ensure that the various interest entitlements should reflect the differences in the market value between the units. As with contribution entitlements the sponsor can also take account of the characteristics of the scheme and the units, whether the scheme is layered and the market value as determined by a valuer as defined in the Valuation of Land Act.

For “market value” the valuer will often need to make a prediction given that, for units in buildings, they may not exist when the entitlement is determined.

Clause 40. Adjusting unit entitlements under Court order

This clause allows for a unit owner to seek an order of the Local Court for the adjustment of unit entitlements. In making an order the Court must have regard to the principles set out in subclauses 39(5), (6) and (7) – i.e. that the contribution entitlements should be equal and the interest entitlement of a unit should reflect the ratio of the market value of the unit to the market value of all units in the scheme.

Upon the making of such an order, the body corporate is required to lodge a new scheme statement.

The intention of this clause is to permit reviews of interest entitlements by the Local Court of the entitlements as determined by a scheme statement’s sponsor at the time when the scheme statement is lodged.

It is not intended that a unit owner be entitled to seek a review based on the fact that the unit has become more valuable (in a relative sense) than other units. This may happen, for example, if an owner makes substantive improvements to his or her unit whereas other owners make no improvements. Alternatively, a unit may lose a view or may suffer some other detriment not shared by others. These kinds of changes do not affect the underlying interest entitlement in the land.

The sections mentioned above in the act are:

38(6) Except as otherwise provided by the regulations, the following must be taken into account for subsection (5):

(a) the characteristics of the scheme and units;

(b) whether the scheme is a layered scheme, higher scheme or subsidiary scheme;

(c) the market value of the units as determined by a valuer as defined in section 4(1) of the Valuation of Land Act.

40 Adjusting unit entitlements under court order

(1) A unit owner may apply to the Local Court for the adjustment of the unit entitlements (including the unit entitlements of other units).

(2) Despite any other provision of a law of the Territory:

(a) the respondents for the proceedings of the application are the body corporate and each unit owner who has given written notice to the body corporate to join as a respondent; and

(b) each party to the proceedings is responsible for the party’s own costs.

(3) The Local Court must:

(a) approve the application by making an order adjusting the unit entitlements as the Court considers appropriate; or

(b) refuse the application.

(4) In deciding the application, the Local Court must:

(a) have regard to section 39(5) and (6); but

(b) disregard:

(i) the applicant’s state of knowledge about the unit when acquiring the unit; and

(ii) the current market value of the unit.

A developer of land selling “off the plan” must, in some circumstances, register a disclosure statement with the Registrar-General and provide a copy of the statement to any person buying land off the plan.

Selling off the plan is entering into a contract for the sale of land prior to the time when a separate title exists for the part of the land being sold.

The requirements only apply to units being developed in accordance with land being subdivided under the Unit Title Schemes Act. In broad terms this will only affect land developments that commenced after 1st January 2010. It will affect some other units at the Darwin Waterfront. It does not apply to land being subdivided under the Unit Titles Act or to ordinary subdivisions under the Planning act.

The disclosure statement will contain the information required by Section 45 of the Unit Title Schemes Act. This will be information that answers the following questions: What is the estimated amount of the annual contributions reasonably expected to be payable to the body corporate for the unit.

What are the proposals concerning the engagement or proposed engagement of a body corporate manager or service contractor.

What are the proposals (if any) concerning letting agents.

What are the body corporate assets.

What are the existing and proposed scheme statements, management modules and by-laws of the scheme and higher schemes (whether existing or proposed to be formed or changed).

What is the method of adjudicating disputes arising from the disclosure statement as prescribed by regulation.

From 1 January 2010 section 54C of the Land Title Act will allow for the Reservation of a Body Corporate Name and Reservation of a Scheme Name. New Forms numbered 116 to 121 have been created to allow for reservation, extension and withdrawal of reservations.

You can make an application for a “Noise Abatement Order” at the Local Magistrates Court. The court will supply an application form and there is a lodgement fee involved. They can be contacted on Ph: 08 8999 6225.

To make a valid application you will need to show a history of unreasonable nuisance noise coming from the unit and have identified the parties responsible. You and other third parties should have logged regular complaints with the police (at least six) about the residence behaviour prior to making the application for the “Noise Abatement Order”. You will then need to attend the court for a hearing to state your case and be able to justify the complaint.

A Quorum at general meeting or AGM exists if persons (or their proxies) who together have the right to vote in relation to at least 50% of the total interest entitlements of the scheme are present at the meeting.

If there is no quorum present at the general meeting, the meeting may take place but all resolutions made at the meeting are interim resolutions. Interim resolution may only be made under this clause on a motion that may be passed by an ordinary resolution.

The secretary of the body corporate must give the details of each interim resolution and the minutes of the meeting to each person with a right to vote at the meeting within 14 working days after the meeting. If an interim resolution is made at the meeting, a person may call a further general meeting within 29 working days after the date of the interim resolution. An interim resolution becomes a resolution of the body corporate if no further meetings are held 29 working days after the date of the interim resolution.

Yes under section 9 of the Unit Titles Scheme (Management Modules) Regulations a committee can remove a committee member for breach of code. A copy of code of conduct can be found in section 77 of the Act.

This is insurance cover taken out and paid for by the developer or builder prior to the issuing of certificates of completion for a residential building. It is valid for 10 years and covers the building in the event the builder has failed to construct the property in accordance with the building code as it applied at the time of construction.

The Territory Insurance Office can supply you with a claim form.

Like their commercial director counterparts, office bearers can be held personally liable for losses suffered by aggrieved third parties. Here are a few of the areas where action can be taken:

  • Mismanagement of body corporate funds
  • Lack of due care in the management of body corporate property
  • Libel and slander
  • Inadequate insurance
  • Breach of statutes.

This highlights exposures which attach to body corporate councillors simply by virtue of their position. The body corporate may have contracted with a managing agent to act on their behalf but body corporate councillors can still be the target of a preferred party action. This is particularly possible where the aggrieved third party is:

Employing litigation as a commercial tactic to apply pressure so that a dispute is resolved

Conscious of the “deep pocket” syndrome. The more parties joined together the greater potential for the increased judgement debt.

Life is not always easy and the unexpected turns up. You don’t have to be guilty to have someone to bring an action against you.

For committee members of bodies corporate, an Office Bearers’ Liability policy protecting them against personal financial loss for claims lodged against them in their capacity as officers of the body corporate is a MUST.

Disaster cover is an optional benefit, which recognises that after a disaster such as a cyclone the cost of reconstruction will rise dramatically. In the event of a “state of disaster/emergency” being declared by the relevant NT Government Authority, the building sum insured in your policy is increased by 30% to assist with increased building costs.

The Body Corporate must have;

  1. Property Insurance – Building & Common Contents Cover against physical loss or damage to your building and the common contents. The sums insured that you select must be sufficient to allow for the cost of reinstating your building and replacing your common contents on a new for old basis. Note: Common Contents means the furniture, furnishings, plant & equipment which is common property of the Body Corporate (such as pool or BBQ area equipment and contents in the foyers etc).
  2. Legal Liability Insurance – Covers for claims for compensation or expenses that you become legally liable to pay in respect of a personal injury or property damage as a result of an occurrence in connection with the ownership of the property.

The Body Corporate should also consider holding;

1. Office Bearers Liability which covers for your office bearers against claims arising out of any actual or alleged wrongful act in managing the Body Corporate affairs. Like their commercial director counterparts, office bearers can be held personally liable for losses suffered by aggrieved third parties. Here are a few of the areas where action can be taken:

  • Mismanagement of body corporate funds
  • Lack of due care in the management of body corporate property
  • Libel and slander
  • Inadequate insurance
  • Breach of statutes

This highlights exposures which attach to body corporate councillors simply by virtue of their position. The body corporate may have contracted with a managing agent to act on their behalf but body corporate councillors can still be the target of a preferred party action. This is particularly possible where the aggrieved third party is:

Employing litigation as a commercial tactic to apply pressure so that a dispute is resolved Conscious of the “deep pocket” syndrome. The more parties joined together the greater potential for the increased judgement debt.

Life is not always easy and the unexpected turns up. You don’t have to be guilty to have someone to bring an action against you. For committee members of bodies corporate, an Office Bearers’ Liability policy protecting them against personal financial loss for claims lodged against them in their capacity as officers of the body corporate is a MUST.

2. Personal Accident (Voluntary Workers) This insurance covers any voluntary worker who suffers an injury as a result of an accident occurring whilst working at your direction, in an unpaid capacity. This voluntary worker may be a unit owner or other person who does garden maintenance or rubbish removal at the direction of the Body Corporate.

3. Fidelity Guarantee Insurance This insurance protects the Body Corporate Funds. This cover for Body Corporate funds lost as a result of theft, embezzlement, misappropriation, conversion or fraud by a committee member. Where your body corporate is managed by a licensed real estate agent this cover is not required as the agent is covered by the NT Governments Agents Fidelity Fund for the theft, embezzlement, misappropriation, conversion or fraud by an agent.

4. Machinery Breakdown. All Strata insurance policies cover Fusion of electric motors up to 4kw in size. Fusion is the process of fusing or melting together of the winding of an electric motor following damage to their insulating material as a result of overheating caused by an electric current. This should cover most split system room air conditioners but insured’s should be aware of the 4kw restriction. This is not a full “Machinery Breakdown” insurance. If the Body Corporate has motors over 4kw in size(ie pool pumps or other mechanical plant & equipment) they should consider a separate Machinery Breakdown policy.

The Body Corporate committees are responsible for understanding the insurance they have in place and the terms of that insurance.

Yes a body corporate can employ a private security firm to check the common property on a regular or call out basis. A number of firms in Darwin provide this service. For regular inspections a quote can be obtained. Casual call outs are usually priced for between $30 to $50 for the initial call out with an hourly rate depending on the time involved. These firms are an alternative to the police for minor disturbances and can assist owners with rowdy or disagreeable tenants or owners.

When an abandoned vehicle is reported to the body corporate a Notice to Residents should first be placed in unit letterboxes to try to ascertain the owner and have the motor vehicle relocated to an allocated car space. Should the motor vehicle not be relocated within two (2) working days, an advertisement should be placed in the Public Notice Section of the NT News on two (2) successive Saturdays, expressing the intention of the body corporate to take possession of the vehicle within 28 days from the date of the second notice.

The Make, Model, engine number, Chassis/VIN, color and registration number (if any) and the location of the vehicle and the time that it has been there must be clearly indentified in the advertisement. The advertisement must also clearly identify the contact details of the body corporate, including two of the following: residential address, postal address, telephone number, mobile number and or email.

Important: These procedures should not be considered or relied upon or used as a reference to a point of law. Body corporate’s are advised to seek independent legal advice in regards to a motor vehicle abandoned on their private property, a road or road related area.

The body corporate property insurance covers the common property of the building. This includes the roof, the exterior walls, plumbing and electrical services up to the individual units meter box. Policies can vary as to internal fixtures but generally items such as fixed shower screens are covered.

Most policies include an excess which may make small claims unviable. Generally where an individual makes a claim on the body corporate policy the excess is to be paid by the individual making the claim.

The body corporate property insurance does not cover owners or tenants contents. This can include fixed shade sails located in an owners private yard.

Notify the body corporate manager in writing ideally via email. Provide details and photos of the damage including when it occurred and supply quotes and invoices for the repairs. The manager will lodge the claim on your behalf.

You call the lift service company the number is located inside the lift. Give them the details and your contact information. Note that unnecessary call outs or callouts due to incorrect operation by the user will be charged to the party concerned.

You contact the lift operator to retrieve them. Note you are responsible for paying for the call out.

You call a locksmith to gain access to the building at your cost. The body corporate is not responsible for resident’s keys. In the event you have a secured keys system for the buildings common areas the unit owner (or his agent) will need to apply in writing to the body corporate manager for authority to be issued keys and electronic access to the common areas.

In the first instance a personal note from the owner informing the occupant is in the wrong space and requesting they move is the best approach.

In the event that the note is ignored the owner should request the caretaker (if there is one) place an official note on the windscreen stating that the vehicle is incorrectly parked and requesting it be moved to its allocated car park or out of the parking area.

If the problem continues the caretaker and owner can liaise with each other and if possible identify the culprit and what unit they are associated with. The office can follow this up with the unit owner who is responsible or their agent if it is a tenant if necessary. As a last resort after repeated violations a notice can be glue to the windscreen of the vehicle.

This is subject to the house rules in place for your building.

Shade sails are not usually covered under the body corporate insurance. If they are it is usually on the basis that they are taken down when a cyclone warning is issued. Privately owned shade sales situated in owners private back yards are not covered by the body corporate’s insurance.

In July 2010 a new Act was created called the Unit Titles Schemes Act (2010). This new act applies to new body corporate’s formed after the act came into place on 1st January 2010. Contained in this act is “Schedule 2. By-laws” a copy of which can be viewed in Sterling’s “Links”.

Sterling Management Services recommends that existing body corporate’s adopt this Schedule 2. By Laws as they are simple concise and set out the fundamental needs for unit owners and their managers. As these By Laws are legislated the body corporate would be very likely to obtain a favourable judgement against a party who had contravened these by laws. This is subject to the violation being proved with accurate documentation.

North Management NT is the only body corporate managers in the Northern Territory who operate separate bank accounts for their body corporates in the name of the body corporate. Other body corporate businesses hold their funds in one trust account in the name of the body corporate business. This allows for much better transparency of information and allows bank reconciliation of accounts on a daily basis.

Our accounts and financials are reconciled to the bank balance every day.

During the wet season occupants may find excess condensation on the ceilings, walls and tiles of their units due to the cooler temperature and excess usage of air-conditioners operating in another unit either, above, below or beside.

Strictly, this is not a body corporate matter but an owner to owner matter and you will need to contact the adjacent unit occupant and request the occupants to turn off their air-conditioning units or increase the temperature (say to 23-24 degrees) to prevent the chilling of your concrete floor and tiles.

Alternatively, if you are not using air-conditioning yourself, you may have to increase the use of air-conditioning to compensate for the cooler temperatures in adjacent units.

Call the Lift Company Service Line. The caller will be responsible for the cost of a call out.

North Management NT encourages the developer to pay the insurance in advance for the coming year which is not part of the body corporates budget. He is therefore entitled to receive back on a pro rata basis the share from each owner which he has paid on their behalf when they settle on the property. The money collected in the budget for insurance is not a double payment but funds to pay next year’s insurance in advance.

A number of buildings we manage have security keys and fobs. To obtain keys and fobs to the common property you need a work order supplied by SMS to prevent unauthorised parties obtaining access.

North Management believes that the best insurance advice and solutions can only be provided with a thorough understanding of the insurance industry and the specialised needs of each organisation. By working in partnership with recognised , appropriately qualified brokers, we achieve the right insurance solution for property owners based on their needs and financial resources.

Strata Member Login

Input your user ID and password (which are included in your ‘Introduction Letter’ from Sterling Management Services or request an new password from StrataMax, simply follow the prompts and a new password will be sent to the email address registered on our system).

Owner Members can check: Personal Account Balances, Contact Details, House Rules and Special Resolutions, Annual General Meeting Minutes, Committee Meeting Minutes, Insurance Certificates of Currency.

Committee Members can obtain: Body Corporate Account Updates and Committee Meeting Minutes.

Tenants have no direct relationship with the body corporate manager. North Management NT acts on behalf of owner/members or their delegated property manager. Tenants must make all requests via their property manager or owner.

Premium funding is a short term loan that allows the body corporate to pay their insurance premiums and associated charges by monthly direct debit over an agreed period (typically 6-12 months).

he Home Building Certification Fund is administered by TIO. It is to cover property which does not comply with NT Building Certification. The Home Building Certification Fund only covers dwellings up to three storeys with a 10 year ‘cut off’ period from date of the building’s completion.

North Management use preferred contractors who are experienced, qualified trades-persons and technicians who offer local expertise, prompt and reliable service and value-for-money in the work that they undertake.

As preferred contractors they must have Public Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance in place as well comply with all relevant regulatory and legislative requirements including, but not limited to Work Health and Safety.

The original Unit Titles Act refers to articles which are the rules of the body corporate set down and contained in the Unit Titles Act.

The new act, Unit Title Schemes Act (NT) 2010 contains in Schedule 2, By-Laws which are the rules of the body corporate as set down in the Unit Title Schemes Act.

“House Rules” is a generic description for the rules of the body corporate. This description is not mentioned in either act or the regulations but has become a common description of a body corporate’s articles, By-Laws or rules. Sterling Management Services recommends all existing body corporates under the original Unit Titles Act should adopt Schedule 2. Corporations under the Unit Title Schemes Act (NT) 2010; refer to Section 95.

The By-laws set down in Schedule 2 of the Unit Title Schemes Act (NT) 2010 are;

1 Improper conduct

A unit owner or unit occupier must not: engage in conduct that would unreasonably affect a person’s lawful enjoyment of the scheme land; or allow a person (an invitee) invited by the unit owner or unit occupier to enter the scheme land to engage in such conduct. Without limiting subclause (1), any of the following may be conduct covered by subclause (1): creating commotion or loud noises on the scheme land; leaving things unattended on the scheme land.

2 Disturbing common property

A unit owner or unit occupier must not physically disturb the common property (including, for example, by removing vegetation or fixtures on it) without the written approval of the body corporate. Without limiting subclause (1), the body corporate may allow a unit owner or unit occupier to install a security device on the common property under such an approval.

3 Parking of vehicle

A unit owner or unit occupier must not: without the written approval of the body corporate: park a vehicle in an area of the scheme land not designated for the parking of vehicles; or allow an invitee to park a vehicle in such an area; or without the approval of the unit owner of another unit – park a vehicle in an area of the scheme land designated for the parking of vehicles by the unit owner or unit occupier of the other unit; or park a vehicle in an area of the scheme land designated for the parking of vehicles only by invitees.

4 Appearance of unit

A unit owner or unit occupier must not, without the written approval of the body corporate: change the external appearance of the unit; or display things (including, for example, washing or signs) on the unit that are visible from outside the unit. Subclause (1) (b) does not affect the display of a sign for the sale or letting of the unit.

5 Inflammable substance

A unit owner or unit occupier must not, without the written approval of the body corporate, store an inflammable substance on the scheme land. This clause does not affect: the lawful storage of an inflammable substance for domestic purposes in the unit; or the lawful storage of fuel in a vehicle, vessel or internal combustion engine on the scheme land.

6 Animal

A unit owner or unit occupier must not, without the written approval of the body corporate: bring an animal to, or keep an animal on, the scheme land; or allow an invitee to do so.

7 Approval of body corporate

An approval under these by-laws must be made by a majority resolution of the body corporate. The body corporate may, when giving the approval, specify conditions of the approval and the period for which it is to be in force. If no such period is specified, the approval remains in force until the body corporate decides to cancel it by a majority resolution.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act if your strata scheme is a ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’ (PCBU) you will have obligations to ensure health and safety for the common property. While there has been an attempt to exclude strata schemes from the Work Health and Safety obligations, the definition is very limited.

* A strata scheme will be a PCBU, and therefore not exempt, ifit employs anyone

* Any of the lots are used for non-residential purposes, this includes

– Short term letting

– Commercial use in any of the lots, such as a home business

– Leases over common property

– The common property is used for commercial purposes, such as boot camps, aqua aerobics

– Owners are allowed to perform work or maintenance, such as gardening, on the common property

As it is almost impossible to ensure occupiers do not conduct business from their lots (which may include working from home in any capacity), the reality is that this exemption will have little application.

Hence, North Management recommend full compliance with this legislation on the basis that the exposure risk may be unreasonable for most Corporations to defend themselves should a case be brought against them. This is especially pertinent when the implications for non-compliance are considered (see points below).

The penalties for noncompliance are severe, in the case of a serious accident resulting in death, the fines can be:

$3 million for Strata Scheme

$600,000 for individuals such as committee members and owners

and/or 5 years jail

If your strata scheme is a PCBU then a safety report from a reputable company can help meet your obligations. Compliance Reports should include:

– Inspection of the common property and provide a report that clearly identifies hazards

– Assessment of the risks that may result from those hazards

– Recommendations to manage the risk Contractors Safe Working Agreement; which is required under the Work Health and Safety Compliance Report Update Schedule

– Implementation Plan Property Profile (Site information for workers)

– Job Safety Analysis Worksheets

Notice of Contribution or Levies are calculated based on the budgets set at the Annual General Meeting and applied based on the unit, lot or contribution entitlement of the individual members.

Unit or lot entitlements are calculated on the proportionate Lot values prepared by a valuer on behalf of the developer at the time of the issue of the titles of the various Lots.

The Administration Fund is to cover expenses of a ‘day to day’ nature, as set down in the budget for a twelve month period and payable by each owner in accordance with designated unit or lot entitlements.

The Sinking Fund is to cover expenses as set down in the budget for the long term maintenance of the Corporation’s assets e.g.: painting, driveway repair, roof repairs etc. As per the Administration Fund levies, Sinking Fund levies are also payable by all property owners in accordance with their designated unit or lot entitlement value.

Pension rebate is given to “senior” people who own and live in the unit as defined by the NT Government ie: over 50 years old.

Pension rebate is applied for Water, sewerage and rubbish bins for recognised ‘seniors’ who own and live in their unit.

2 weeks after the body corporate’s financial end of year (EOY). In consultation with the Body Corporate Committee, North Management checks and finalises financial figures and confirms the meeting date with the Committee. We also determine if any special resolutions are required which will need 3 weeks’ notice to members.

3weeks after EOY send out notices and documents for AGM to members.

Ideally, 6 weeks after EOY the AGM is held.

No, each Body Corporate’s financial end of year is set when the unit titles are issued for a new building. This means AGM meetings are spread throughout the year.

Yes and the Body Corporate Manager, in consultation with the NTFRS (and if applicable the Fire Services provider), will make every effort to identify the party responsible and recover costs so as not to burden the Corporation with such un-planned expenses through no fault of the Corporation There is an application to waive unwanted false alarm charges. Details and application forms can be found at the following site.

Unwanted Alarm Charges

North Management policy is to forward the account plus the claim form to the Body Corporate Chairman and the caretaker (if one is in place for the property) with a request to complete and lodge the forms and send NMNT a copy for our records. As the charge on these claims is approximately $800 each it is a worthwhile exercise and provides a good example for every Body Corporate to have on-going maintenance and servicing of the Corporation’s fire service & equipment in place so that they can demonstrate their commitment to maintaining their building, plant, equipment and procedures in ‘top’ working order.

If the chairman fails to complete and lodge the paper work within 14 days NMNT will lodge the forms on behalf of the body corporate after collecting what information the manager can obtain to attempt to have the invoice cancelled. As this task falls outside the duties of the body corporate managers duties the body corporate will be charged a minimum fee of $77.00 per False Alarm lodgement.

Damage caused to the common property or costs incurred by the body corporate as a result of owners or their tenants actions should, where ever possible be passed onto the party responsible. The body corporate manager has no authority to collect a cost as a result of tenant’s actions without legal action which in the majority of cases is not practical.

North Management NT recommends that all body corporate adopts the following resolution: “The resolution that owners will be responsible for any damage or costs incurred by the body corporate to the common property due to the owners actions or the actions of their tenants”.

  1. Leadership and guidance for members and committees.
  2. Knowledge and education which is used to educate and inform body corporate members.
  3. Transparent records and open lines of communication for members.
  4. Maintains high ethical standards by adhering to the Code of Practice.
  5. Promotes to government effective laws and encourages professional business standards.