Within body corporate developments, responsibilities for repairs and maintenance and who pays for them are covered by the Unit Titles Act 2010 (UTA). You can see the UTA by clicking here 

The body corporate committee here at Freemans Park realises that not all of us will know the who, what, when about who pays and has put together some points to help clarify the situation.  

Basically, owners are responsible for maintenance of their private property, that is, the area within the unit title boundaries of principal units and accessory units, including decks and balconies. The exception is when the repair needed is to a building element that serves more than one unit . In this case the body corporate is responsible for the repair –  however, owners of units who benefit from this work will pay the costs and this is done by by way of an “on-charge”, ie, the charge is passed on to the owner for payment. 


Section 80(1)(g) of the UTA states that the owner of a principal unit ”must repair and maintain the unit and keep it in good order to ensure that no damage or harm, whether physical, economic, or otherwise, is, or has the potential to be, caused to the common property, any building element, any infrastructure, or any other unit in the building”.

Owners are responsible for the repair and maintenance of their units and this includes decks given that  a deck is part of the principal unit and as such is private property.

Where an owner has not had work carried out and the lack of maintenance has the potential to adversely impact on other units and/or common property, the body corporate has a responsibility to take action. This is because the neglect of private property can affect other units in a number of ways, including devaluing the entire development.

Body corporate

The body corporate – that is, the collective of all the owners –  is responsible for common property, and has wider responsibilities, in particular section 138(1)(d) “any building elements and infrastructure that relate to or serve more than 1 unit.”

Building elements are defined in Part 5 as including “the external and internal components of any part of a building or land on a unit plan that are necessary to the structural integrity of the building, the exterior aesthetics of the building, or the health and safety of persons who occupy or use the building and including, without limitation, the roof, balconies, decks, cladding systems, foundations systems (including all horizontal slab structures between adjoining units or underneath the lowest level of the building), retaining walls, and any other walls or other features for the support of the building”.

Costs of work done on building elements and infrastructure that relate to or serve more than one unit are met by the owners who benefit from those repairs. But of course, not all building elements relate to or serve more than one unit. 

Recovery of costs

The body corporate is responsible for common property and associated costs are covered by the levies paid by owners.. All members of a body corporate development own a part share of all common property so it makes sense for them to contribute to its maintenance and repair.

When a body corporate does repairs, maintenance or other work that it is empowered or obligated to do on private property, the costs are recoverable from unit owners as an on-charge. 

Where an owner is at fault, the cost is able to be recouped in full under section 127. 

Where the body corporate does work within a unit title it may recover the cost of that work from the owner under section 138(4). Where other owners have substantially benefited from these repairs, section 126 provides for the costs to be recoverable from all unit owners who have substantially benefited from the repairs. The body corporate will consider in all the circumstances whether it is appropriate to use 126 or 138(4) when recovering costs from unit owners for work on private property.



Some roofs are common property (e.g. star blocks) and others are private property (e.g. the roofs of the row houses, 61 Hepburn Street and 60 Wellington Street).

The roofs that are common property are repaired and replaced by the body corporate and the costs funded through levies from all owners. This is part and parcel of being part of a body corporate development.

The roofs that are private property are the responsibility of the owner, as long as the roof in question is not a building element that relates to or serves more than one unit.

Guttering and downpipes

A recent example of cost recovery involved the gutters of 142 Howe Street, which were blocked with leaves causing damage to the gutters and blocking the downpipes, and which had the potential to damage the units below. Accordingly, the body corporate committee agreed to install a gutter guard to prevent any further damage and maintain the guttering. Parts of the gutters are within the unit title of each row house, and hence private property, but the guttering is also a building element serving more than one unit given that it runs along the entire block of eight row houses. So the cost was on-charged to the individual owners.

Window frames

Responsibility for costs to repair or replace window frames depends on where the boundary of a unit lies. In row houses the window frames are clearly within private property and are the owner’s responsibility. In star blocks however,  the outside of the building is common property and the window frames are the responsibility of the body corporate.

Grounds, paths, trees, private lanes

These are all common property and hence the responsibility of the body corporate to maintain and repair, funded by our levies.