All Brisbane apartment and condominium buildings and complexes are managed by its Body Corporate or Owners’ Corporation. Resident owners of the building or complex make up the members and officers of the corporation. Buying and owning a unit or a townhouse gets you an automatic membership to the corporation – entitling you to all rights and liable to all responsibilities stated in its existing by-laws.
Here is the third part of Queensland’s guiding rules and regulations for apartment owner’s corporations covering the maintenance and improvement provisions of an owners’ corporation.
Maintenance of Common Properties and Lots
The owner is solely responsible for the upkeep of everything within the boundaries of his or her property. In apartment complexes, owners’ responsibility is limited to everything that are within their lots. Maintenance for common properties is the responsibility of the body corporate.
Both owners and the body corporate are responsible for keeping the property structurally sound, work on required repairs, and undertaking preventive measures to aver future damages. Preventive and maintenance work could include pest control, gardening, and fire hazard review and prevention.
Owners are liable to any damages caused to other lots and common properties due to neglect of his or her own lot, just as the corporate body is liable to damages caused to lots and common properties due to neglect.
There are two maintenance format plans applicable – building format and standard format plan. Your apartment in Brisbane can fall into one of the categories.
Building Format Plan Maintenance
This maintenance plan is applicable to multi-floor buildings and complexes; apartment and condominium buildings and in some cases, townhouses. Lot or property boundaries are the centre of floors, walls, or ceilings.
Owners are responsible for anything within their property. That includes the interiors of the apartment, the balcony if there’s any, fixtures, fittings, and utility infrastructures within the lot, and areas that exclusively used by the owner. The body corporate is responsible for the upkeep of the roof, exterior walls, and foundations of the building/s, entry lobby, hallways, elevators, stairs, amenities, common rooms, perimeter fences, gardens, lawns, common parking, and utility infrastructures.
Standard Format Plan Maintenance
This maintenance plan is applicable to townhouse complexes and community subdivisions where individual lots include a yard and a building, and share ownership of common areas in the community. Lot or property boundaries are the centre of shared walls and land markers as defined by land survey and measurements.
Owners’ maintenance responsibilities include anything inside the building, anything inside their lot boundary, and any exclusive use areas. The owner corporate is responsible for the upkeep of common properties like the community building, the grounds outside individual lots, perimeter fences, and any utility infrastructures outside of individual lots.
Improvements are different and are treated differently from maintenance work. Maintenance are required maintain the living conditions of the residents. Improvements are non-vital additions or changes that could improve the facilities or add value to the property. Additional buildings, change of fencing material from wood to aluminium, or paving of gravel paths are all considered improvements.
Common property improvements are authorised and approved by the corporate body in a committee meeting. Cost per project is limited to $300 per lot. If the improvement costs are higher than the limit, the project can be divided into several instalments to fit the set limitations.
Individual lot improvements are subject to the approval of the body corporate. Individual improvements has to be $3,000 or less, do not detract from the general appearance of the community or building, and will not likely cause disturbance to the other residents.
Some maintenance and improvements cases and issues are not directly defined by the law. A quick reference check whether the work is the responsibility of the owner or the corporate body is the property boundaries. For more details and information on maintenance and improvement of apartments in Brisbane, click here to visit the Queensland government site on housing.