Body Corporates Behaving Badly: BUILDING MAINTENANCE0
With any building there are generally two things we can count on. First, without maintenance, it will fall down and second, the cost of that maintenance will be a source of conflict/confusion if the building is part of a Body Corporate (BC).
The BCCM Act and its accompanying modules do step out the rules concerning maintenance responsibilities, but those rules can at times be confusing.
The basic rule of course is that the BC pays for the common property and the individual lot owners each pay for their own lots but there are exceptions to that rule and what constitutes “Common Property” can vary from one BC to another.
The starting point is to determine if the BC is part of a “Building Format Plan” (BFP) or a “Standard Format Plan” (SFP) scheme. The Qld Land Title Act gives the definitions but in short, a BFP is where the boundaries for a lot are defined by the walls, floor and ceiling of a lot and a SFP is where some/all of the lot’s boundaries extend out to include a surrounding yard with a dividing fence to separate one lot from another.
In a BFP scheme, the BC is responsible for all of the maintenance of any infrastructure that supplies utility services throughout the complex as well as foundations/essential support structures, all load bearing walls and any non-load bearing walls separating a lot from a common property, doors and windows in any external wall (unless they open onto a private balcony area) and roof structures/membranes that provide protection for lots or common property. Individual lot owners are responsible for the maintenance of the interior of their lots and any infrastructure that relates to the supply of a utility service to only their lot.
In a SPF scheme, the BC generally has no responsibility to maintain any of the external structure(s) of any lot but is obligated to maintain roads/paths and gardens in any common property areas and infrastructure for the supply of utility services throughout the complex, save again for situations where the utility service supplied relates only to one lot. The individual lot owners then retain individual liability for the remainder of all of the other maintenance costs.
In part 2 of this series we discuss the rules that govern how and when a BC may authorise repair/maintenance work, the fine line between maintenance and improvements and the consequences upon the BC and/or individual lot owners from maintenance neglect.
If any readers of this article have questions relating to their personal BC situation then we at Zande Law are presently offering a free initial consultation service. Just give us a call and we would be happy to book you in for an appointment. Michael Zande is the principal at Zande Law Solicitors and has over 25 years’ experience. To contact Michael for advice, phone 3385 0999, Suite 7, Norwinn Centre, 15 Discovery Drive, North Lakes.
The information in this article is merely a guide and is not a full explanation of the law. This firm cannot take responsibility for any action readers take based on this information. When making decisions that could affect your legal rights, please contact us for professional advice.