Owners of flats, apartments or units are usually members of an owners corporation, previously known as a 'body corporate'.

Once the Owners Corporations Act 2006 took effect, on 31 December 2007, all body corporate organisations  became ‘owners corporations’.

Land Use Victoria registers plans of subdivision which create or alter owners corporations, as well as applications such as rules or changes of address, which occur after the creation of an owners corporation. Consumer Affairs Victoria is the governing body for all other owners corporation matters, including insurance and disputes.

If land or part of a building is set aside for common property in a plan of subdivision, an owners corporation must be created. An owners corporation may also be created to manage shared services within the land affected.

A person who owns property in an owners corporation automatically becomes a member of that owner’s corporation. As a member, they have legal and financial responsibilities to the owners corporation.

All owners corporations have statutory duties and powers set out in the Owners Corporation Act 2006.

A plan of subdivision lodged at Land Use Victoria may create a single owners corporation or multiple owners corporations. Each owners corporation being created must also be accompanied by a document which sets out additional information about the owners corporation, including its postal address and how the entitlement and liability were allocated.

Any notations or responsibilities set out in the owners corporation additional information document must be identical to those set out on the certified plan.

A licensed surveyor, solicitor or conveyancer familiar with subdivisions containing owners corporations can advise you on how to lodge dealings that affect owners corporations or alter common property. 

See Forms, guides and fees.

For more information about owners corporations visit Consumer Affairs Victoria

To track subdivision plans and owners corporation dealings from lodgement to registration, visit LANDATA

A plan of subdivision will set out responsibilities among the property owners by defining each lot’s entitlements and lot liabilities. Once a plan is registered the entitlements and liabilities will be visible in an owners corporation search report.

Entitlement and liability can be described as follows:

  • Lot entitlement is a lot owner's share of ownership of the common property, and in some cases can determine voting rights.
  • Lot liability represents the proportion of owners corporation administrative and general expenses that each lot owner is obliged to pay.

The entitlements and liabilities are determined by the developer in conjunction with the licensed surveyor before lodgement at Land Use Victoria, the basis of which must be described on the owners corporation additional information form. Refer to Your guide to lodging an accompanying document for a limited or unlimited owners corporation.

If you are having trouble deciding which owners corporation form to lodge with your subdivision, please refer to the owners corporation schedule attached to the certified Plan of Subdivision, which will clearly state whether the owners corporation is unlimited or limited.

Common property is defined in the plan of subdivision, and may include parts of the land, buildings and airspace that are not defined as lots, roads or reserves.

There may be multiple separate common properties defined in the plan, which will each have a separate identifying number (ie Common Property No.1) Multiple common properties usually means multiple owners corporations are present.

Common property may include areas such as gardens, passages, walls, pathways, driveways, stairs, lifts, foyers etc.

Floor coverings and fixtures within a lot are usually the property of the lot owner.

All common property is collectively owned by the lot owners.

An unlimited owners corporation is the most common type of owners corporation, and has no limits to how the functions and powers as determined by the Owners Corporation Act 2006 apply.

It will generally manage all of the land within the owners corporation, including services, maintenance and any common property which is not affected by a limited owners corporation.

Limited owners corporations may be defined as “limited” or “limited to common property”, the difference being certain sections of the Owners Corporation Act regarding maintenance within lots do not apply if an owners corporation is denoted as limited to common property.

Any limited or limited to common property owners corporation that includes common property will be for the maintenance of the use of the affected common property.

Limited owners corporations which have no common property are usually to manage any common services within the land. The owners corporation additional information document must define the relevant limitation in these cases.

These are common in large, multi storey apartment buildings, commercial properties, or developments that combine residential and non-residential lots, but they may be present where certain lots in small developments have no desire to access or use the common property.

Properties with more than one owners corporation will always have a larger unlimited owners corporation, which owns all of the common property.

There may be one or more limited or limited to common property owners corporations, which include only some of the lots as members. These limited owners corporation define a set of lots who have exclusive use and responsibility for the common property affected by the limited owners corporation.

All owners corporations have rules for the control, management and use of common property and lots. The rules cover day-to-day issues such as safety,  parking and noise.

If an owners corporation does not make its own rules, a set of model rules which are outlined in the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 (Schedule 2) applies.

A developer may set out rules for the owners corporation which are to be registered with the plan of subdivision, or an owners corporation may resolve to create rules once it is established.

The rules may be made to cover any of the matters set out in schedule 1 of the Owners Corporation Act 2006. If no rule is made for one of the matters that are included in the model rules, then that model rule is deemed to be included in the owners corporation’s rules.

If an owners corporation resolves to create its own rules, they must be registered with Land Use Victoria.  Otherwise the rules are not enforceable and only the model rules will apply.

When lodging rules with LUV, a “consolidated copy” of the rules must be supplied. This means a current copy of any rules in place, as only one set of rules will be registered against an owners corporation. Note that this does not include the model rules that may or may not apply.

Futher advice

A licensed surveyor, solicitor or conveyancer familiar with subdivisions containing owners corporations can advise you on how to lodge dealings that affect owners corporations or alter common property.

Useful contacts

Consumer Affairs Victoria
Telephone: 1300 558 181

Real Estate Institute of Victoria
Telephone: (03) 9205 6666

LANDATA
Telephone: (03) 8636 2456

Law Institute of Victoria
Telephone: (03) 9960 7931