The body corporate pays for any maintenance or repairs it carries out, including any property management charges, through levies on unit owners.

The body corporate is responsible for repairing and maintaining the common property in the development, any assets owned by the body corporate or designed for use in connection with the common property, and any building elements and infrastructure that relate to or serve more than one unit.

The body corporate may access any unit to carry out repairs and maintenance to common property, or to building elements and infrastructure which serve more than one unit. Access to units must be at reasonable times.

Paying for maintenance and repairs

The body corporate is responsible for maintaining the common property in the development as well as building elements (for example, cladding and the roof) and infrastructure (for example, stormwater or wastewater pipes) that relate to or serve more than one unit. The body corporate must also maintain any other assets it owns or that are designed for use in connection with common property.

Most of the time, all owners share the cost of repairing and maintaining common property through the body corporate levy. However the body corporate can require unit owner(s) to pay more if the work:

  • was carried out because a unit owner or their tenant acted negligently, or did something to cause damage
  • benefits some unit owners over others
  • is carried out on building elements or infrastructure contained in a unit.

Maintenance of individual units

Maintenance and repair of the interior of a unit is the responsibility of the unit owner(s). In some instances, especially in developments with detached units, owners might also be responsible for maintenance and repair of the exterior of units and exclusive use areas.

A unit owner must maintain their unit in a way that doesn’t have the potential to cause damage or harm to any common property, building element, infrastructure or other unit.

In addition to necessary repairs and maintenance, a unit owner can make alterations, additions or improvements to their unit, as long as they are within the unit boundary and don’t materially affect the common property or other units and comply with body corporate rules, for example obtaining building consents. If a unit owner wants to do any alterations or additions that will materially affect other units or common property, they must get written consent from affected owners and/or the body corporate.

Long-term maintenance plan

The body corporate must establish and maintain a long-term maintenance plan, which covers at least 10 years. The long-term maintenance plan is funded by the long-term maintenance fund (unless the body corporate resolves not to have a long-term maintenance fund). Example long-term maintenance plans are shown below.

Contact the body corporate for a copy of the long-term maintenance plan (through the chairperson or another body corporate contact). The body corporate may charge any reasonable costs incurred in providing a copy of the plan.

Information the long-term maintenance plan must contain

The long-term maintenance plan must contain specific information set out in Regulation 30 (external link) of the Unit Title Regulations 2011.

The plan must:

  • describe the common property, building elements, and infrastructure of the unit title development and any additional items that the body corporate has decided by ordinary resolution to include in the plan 
  • identify those items that the body corporate may decide by ordinary resolution not to maintain for any period during the lifetime of the plan
  • state the period covered by the plan
  • state the estimated age and life expectancy of each item covered by the plan
  • state the estimated cost of maintenance and replacement of each item covered by the plan
  • state whether there is a long-term maintenance fund and if there is a long-term maintenance fund, state the amount determined by the body corporate to be applied to maintain the fund each year
  • state who has prepared the plan.

Long-term maintenance plans may include additional information and will vary between developments. Small developments with little common property will have a simple plan. For example, if the only common property is a driveway, the plan will likely only cover the driveway maintenance requirements, such as when it needs to be resealed.

On the other hand, a large or multi-storey development with a significant amount of common property will need a more comprehensive plan. For example, in a high-rise apartment development, the plan will likely cover a range of maintenance, such as repainting or replacement of cladding, washing windows or resealing a roof.

Purpose of the long-term maintenance plan

The purpose of the long-term maintenance plan is to:

  • identify future maintenance requirements and estimate the cost of future maintenance
  • support the establishment and management of a long-term maintenance fund (if there is one)
  • provide a basis for levying contributions on unit owners
  • provide ongoing guidance to the body corporate to assist it in making annual maintenance decisions. 

Using the long-term maintenance plan

The long-term maintenance plan helps the body corporate make decisions on what maintenance and repair work it needs to carry out each year and how this work is funded. This could be something discussed at each annual general meeting or more regular meetings as may be agreed.

In addition, the plan will help the body corporate budget to meet the costs of ongoing maintenance work, especially ‘large ticket’ items that may require more careful cost planning. Contributions from unit owners to fund the long-term maintenance plan may be levied as the need for work arises, or through regular levies on the unit owners.