Home Units and Town Houses
Bodies Corporate and Community Management Schemes
The Body Corporate and Community Management Act commenced on the 13th July 1997. What was previously known as a Building Unit Plan or Group Title Plan is now called a "Community Title Scheme".
Part of the purpose for this change was to increase the flexibility of the law and management relevant to various types of BUPs or GTPs (now "CTSs") rather than have every type regulated similarly. The different types of schemes have been categorised in "modules" e.g.
- Standard Module - developments mostly owner occupied
- Accommodation Module – mostly holiday letting and serviced apartments
- Commercial Module - non-residential projects
- Small Schemes - 6 lots or less
Each Scheme requires a "Community Management Statement" - a comprehensive document describing the Scheme and any future development. It identifies the applicable Regulation Module and contains the By-laws, an "Interest Schedule" (previously called “Lot Entitlement”) and a Contribution Schedule. It discloses any Service Agreement e.g. Management, Care Taking, Letting etc. An interesting requirement now is the "Sinking Fund forecast" coving a minimum of 10 years - to ensure there will be sufficient funds for good maintenance.
As regards conveyancing, the Contract is now made up of a number of parts:-
- The Contract itself with Standard Terms - very similar to the previous Contract;
- A Disclosure Statement:
This is a Statement of information required to be given by the Seller to the Buyer. It must be substantially completed. The Buyer can terminate by appropriate and timely notice should there be –
- a failure to give this Statement or failure to substantially complete it;
- inaccuracies if the Buyer would be substantially prejudiced thereby and they existed at the Contract date. However for a proposed Lot the Seller can give a further Disclosure Statement upon becoming aware of inaccuracies;
- an inability to verify the contents of the Statement despite reasonable efforts.
As can be seen the Disclosure Statement is an imperative and precise document containing information that may not be known to the Seller. There is also a Warranty required to be given by the Seller in the Contract with an adjacent marginal note warning to the Seller about the need for accuracy and alerting the Buyer to the benefit of inspecting the records of the Body Corporate. In the majority of cases the Seller will have to search the Body Corporate records to provide complete and accurate information for the Sale Contract. Relying on some Body Corporate Secretaries will place the Seller and the sale at risk. The engagement of a Body Corporate Specialist by the Seller at the time of listing may therefore be warranted.
From a Buyer's perspective to preserve the right to terminate, investigation of the Body Corporate must commence immediately upon signing the Contract. Default in this respect may forfeit that right for the Buyer cannot await the result of a finance application before instructing a Solicitor to commence such investigations.
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Need help with the law?
Before buying or selling a Home Unit or Town House or need a Lawyer for some other legal matter, contact the contact G. R. Brown Solicitor and Notary Public between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday by visiting the office at Suite 5, Sandgate Arcade, cnr Brighton Road and Second Avenue, Sandgate, Qld 4017 or by telephoning on 07 3269 8511 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
The conveyancing hot-line is 1300 734310 or email email@example.com .