Body corporate is an area of real estate that not too many understand. Who are they, and how can you assist in their plan for the place you call home? For renters who are part of a complex that is managed by a body corporate, you must identify what your obligations are to this body and what you can expect from them also. It doesn’t need to be an “us vs. them” situation, and with more clarity, you could find yourself in a more harmonious arrangement than when you were renting unaware of who they are.
What is a Body Corporate?
Body corporate services are management companies that look after a collection of properties (units and apartments typically) as a third-party entity. The body corporate has financial, administrative and general tasks as part of their role, but where they provide the most value to renters is their management of shared spaces and shared facilities. When you consider how many people live in these complexes and the many unique requests and enquiries they receive, it’s a complicated job and one that is vital to your renting lifestyle.
A renter must keep abreast of the communications that circulate within the complex, whether it is via email, letterbox drop or communications and signage around the property. This information serves the safety and improvement of all residents, and that includes renters. These communications might even take place in person, with body corporate meetings happening from time to time if necessary. These meetings will usually cover the maintenance plan, and any changes that are coming, and renters should be aware of these works so as not to disrupt plans.
A renter also must ensure that communication goes both ways, and reach out to body corporate if there are maintenance issues, safety breaches and anything that the body corporate needs to rectify and alert other residents of. As a member of a closed community, a renter should involve themselves with the culture established in the complex as best they can.
Body corporate communication is an obligation generally taken on by the landlord concerning the payment of fees, shared budget use, etc. However, that doesn’t mean renters are without responsibility in this regard. If you are a renter in a body corporate-controlled building, you too need to be aware of all the rules and regulations stipulated by that entity.
Follow the rules
As a renter, you might only know the body corporate as the group of people that roll out rules, but these rules are carefully designed and are put in place so that you live in a better place. Some of the most contentious rules are usually to do with common areas and shared facilities. If your rooftop pool closes at 8 pm, you have an obligation to uphold this rule. If there is a rule that stipulates no bikes in the foyer, you have an obligation to uphold this rule. Most of these body corporate rules are rolled out in line with the insurance of your complex, so breaching these rules might have significant (and expensive) consequences for the body corporate, other residents, and even you.
If you have questions about any of the rules or would like to see if they can be relaxed or changed, make a request with your body corporate and see what is possible. Your body corporate will appreciate you seeking more information about a rule rather than you just going against it. Who knows, it might even be discussed at the next meeting and others might be in favour of your idea.
Hopefully, this read hasn’t left you feeling like you don’t have too much say in your living arrangements, because you absolutely do. Your body corporate is concerned with your interests, just as they are the owner’s committee. Familiarise yourself with who your body corporate is, and rather than wondering if you can do something, ask them directly as they can only learn and improve by hearing your requests and concerns.