Body Corporate or Strata unit

What is a Body Corporate?

1st April 2019

In Queensland, a body corporate is a legal entity created when land is subdivided and registered under the Land Titles Act 1994 (Qld) to establish a community titles scheme.

Owners do not have a choice. Every owner is automatically a member of the body corporate


In Queensland, a body corporate is a legal entity created when land is subdivided and registered under the Land Titles Act 1994 (Qld) to establish a community titles scheme.

The scheme can be a duplex, a residential unit block, a complex of individual townhouses, either connected with common walls or independent buildings on a defined series of lots. It can be a high-rise accommodation complex, it sometimes includes a shopping complex or a business park (or a combination of any of the above). On this website, the word “complex” is used to describe the amalgam of lots that become a community titles scheme or a body corporate. In other areas of the world there are different names such as strata buildings, condominiums and owners corporations to describe complexes and their management systems.

Owners do not have a choice as to whether or not they will be a body corporate member. Every owner is automatically a member of the body corporate.

The main rules for running a body corporate are contained in the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (as amended 2003 and 2007) and Associated Regulations.

There are different “modules” for which Regulations have been produced. The modules broadly speaking represent different types of complexes: Standard module, Accommodation module, Small Schemes and Commercial module. Different sets of regulations give the rules for each of these modules. Most complexes are Standard or Accommodation module and this website www.bodycorproatematters.com.au covers the rules for them.

To determine which Regulation module relates to your complex, have a look at the CMS, the Community Management Statement, for your complex. The secretary of the body corporate (or the body corporate manager where there is one) should have a copy of the CMS for your building since they are an important component of the records for the scheme or complex.

Should your committee not have a copy of the CMS, any lot owner can pay a small fee at the nearest Queensland Government Titles Office to obtain a copy of their CMS. It is best to know your CMS number before you go to the Titles Office, although a helpful counter attendant may find it for you from the full street address.

More Information? Go to the Act & Regulations

You can obtain a copy of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act and the Regulations applicable for your scheme from service@sds.qld.gov.au) or downloadable yourself through www.legislation.qld.gov.au

The New Layperson’s Guide to Body Corporate Laws in Qld is very helpful resource, published by this website’s publisher Link to flyer here

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Self managed by Owners

Complexes are managed by their individual body corporate.

At general meetings major decisions are made by all lot owners and, between those meetings, a democratically elected committee has the responsibility of running the complex and implementing the decisions of the general meeting.

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All members of the body corporate has responsibility to

  • Maintain, manage and control the common property for the benefit of owners
  • Determine the contributions payable by owners to fund the operation of the body corporate
  • Insure the buildings and the public risks in the complex

They also can establish rules that relate to

  • Management and control of common property and body corporate assets
  • Use and enjoyment of lots, common property and assets (These are the by-laws and can be enforced by the body corporate.)

The body corporate must keep records, including

  • minutes of general and committee meetings,
  • a roll of owners,
  • financial accounts and
  • registers of assets, engagements and authorisations.

Primary Source for this introductory section: Body Corporate – A quick guide to community living in Queensland, a brochure from Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General www.justice.qld.gov.au/bccm Phone 1800 060 119

The Common Property

The common property for a complex consists of all parts of the complex that are not included in a lot. Common property can include lawns, access roadways and stairs; swimming pools and other communal facilities and infrastructure such as pipes, wiring and lifts.

There are two common types of plans in Queensland, Building Format plans and Standard format plans

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The survey plan for a community titles scheme establishes the boundaries of the lots and the common property.

There are two common types of plans for complexes: The most prevalent is the Building Format Plan (BFP previously known as a Building Units Plan) and these are mostly unit blocks with apartments, above or below each other. The second type is Standard Format Plan (SFP or Group Titles Plan). These are usually townhouse and villa complexes consisting of individual lots that sometimes are freestanding and they may or may not have some common walls. To confuse people even more, most newly-constructed townhouses are now Building Format Plan.

Different rules on whether an owner, and/or the body corporate is responsible for specific maintenance tasks of the exterior of buildings apply, so owners should determine whether their unit is a BFP or SFP.

(See Maintenance further in this handbook or go to www.justice.qld.gov.au/bccm for useful handouts/factsheets on Maintenance responsibilities)

A Lot is the legal description of the real property that is owned by the unit owner and it is a specific number for each unit. The Unit Number is the identification number of the lot within the complex. In smaller complexes, the Lot number and the Unit number is often the same number; in larger complexes, the Lot number is quite unrelated to the Unit number and adds to confusion when marking rolls of proprietors. The owner of a unit is both a lot owner and a unit owner. The terms are used interchangeably in this book.

The Committee acts on behalf of all owners

The owners at a general meeting (usually at the Annual General Meeting) elect a committee consisting of at least 3 and up to 7 persons to administer the complex and to implement decisions taken at the general meeting.

The term of office of the committee is normally 1 year (with the first notice of meeting for each AGM there are fresh nominations called for all positions). 25% or more of the lot owners can in writing request an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and can insist on calling for fresh nominations for some or all committee positions.

Residents (owners and tenants) are urged to learn who the members of their body corporate committee are and then to treat them politely as their personal representatives in a similar way that ratepayers (and tenants) approach their local government representatives.

People who serve on the committee should be community-minded and willing to listen to the concerns of residents and then to deal with those issues at committee level and report back to their constituents.

It is common (and encouraged by www.bodycorporatematters.com.au) for a list of committee members and their contact details – addresses, phone numbers and email addresses – to be sent out to all lot owners with the minutes of the AGM after those people have been elected as the committee. When there is a notice board in the complex, that list of committee people and their contact details is often displayed for all to see.

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