Body Corporate or Strata unit

Buying a Unit? What you should know!

29th July 2020
By Dee Pannell

We have compiled 6 important tips for you when buying a unit in Queensland.
This list is by no means exhaustive however these are extremely important to the buying process. Having knowledge is the key to living in peace and harmony and without additional financial stress.   Our Knowledge Centre has answers to these questions and more
We always suggest that you obtain a Body Corporate Inspection Report from a reputable company.   The report will cover the majority of matters raised here however you will also need to ensure that you educate yourself as living in a unit carries other responsibilities that new owners are not aware of.
1.  What do I actually own ?

Is a carpark or storage area included on my Title or is it an exclusive use area?

Is my balcony included in my Lot or do I just have exclusive use of it?

Is my garden area included in my Lot or do just have exclusive use of it?

Can I live in it permanently?    Can I let it out via Air BNB ?

2.  What levies are payable?   

Are they payable quarterly, monthly etc.

How much money is currently in the Sinking Fund?

You should also obtain a copy of the current Sinking Fund Forecast. It will state how much money should be currently in the account as at the end of the current financial year – if the amount is significantly lower you need to understand why! 

You could be asked to pay a special levy in the event the scheme incurs a cost it cannot pay for.

3.  Does the scheme have an on-site Manager?  (Caretaker / Letting Agent)

If so you must obtain a copy of the Caretaking Agreement and any subsequent amendments to that agreement (Deeds of Variation or Deeds of Assignment) so that you understand –

  1. what the Managers duties are:-
  2. if the agreement provides for remuneration increases (this would affect increases in your levies)
  3. any other clauses that would affect you as an owner either financially or otherwise

4.  Insurance ? 

Have an understanding of what you need to insure.  Is the insurance cover taken out by the Body Corporate adequate?.   The Body Corporate requires an Insurance Valuation every 5 years to ensure that they have adequate insurance cover.

5.  Is the scheme professionally managed?  

It is important that you know who manages the books and records for the scheme.   If the scheme “self manages” red flags should go up – you would need to know that they are complying with the legislation and keep their books and records in perfect order.  If not this could result in too many issues to report on here.

6.  Check out the can and can't do's!

  • Is planting a garden essential to you? ask before buying.
  • Maybe you would like to add a pergola/patio?  Be sure to ask if this is even possible. 

The New Laypersons Guide To Body Corporate In Queensland can assist you in understanding the many terminologies and laws that regulate the Body Corporate industry.  By becoming a member of Body Corporate Matters,  you can also request assistance to find a solution to your question or issue.  We can refer you also to one of our Business Partners for further assistance.

Contact Us for further information today.

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