Body corporate probs

I wasn't sure what topic to put on this.

I have a friend wh lived in Queanbeyan (just near the ACT).

He had a 1BR unit in a block (of about 12). At that stage it was barely worth $40K.

Added to that. The body corporate was run by a lady who owns 3 of the units. She doesn't rent them out, just stores bits and pieces in them.

Rent for the units as $90 pw. Not a bad return.


Body corporate fees are $20pw. For this, the body corporate did almost nothing. I assume that was most of that was pocketed by the lady.

Each unit had an allocated parking space. But the lady in question did not have a car. So she srranged for an abandoned car to be put into each parking space for which she was entitled.

My friend arranged for the cars to be removed onto the street. Once on the street, the council could have them removed.

But the wrecks were promply returned to their parking spots. And the wheels removed.

Obviously a big turnoff to potential tenants.

The lady had some good support from two other unit owners. There was not enough interest from other unit owners to vote against her. So the car wrecks remained.

Body corporate meetings could not raise enough iterest for an opposition.

OK, so my friend wanted to sell. At that stage (six months ago), a 1br apartment in Queanbeyan was worth barely $40K.

The agent suggested selling it for $48k. My friend thought that was excessive- but agreed.

It was sold within 24 hours. By a bidding war between 3 Sydney investors- sight unseen. For $48k (rememeber, worth $40K at the time). Presumably sold by cashflow alone. And it would have been VERY difficult for any of those investors to have known about the car bodies, let alone about the body corporate.

Is this an example of demand for cashflow taking over common sense?

I would hope that it's not a reader of this forum who bought the property.
Playing the same game.

Of course, you can always play the same game. If she owns 3 of the 12 units, then she is liable for 25% of any expenses incurred on behalf of the bidy corporate.

I would be overtly lobbying support from the remaining owners with a view to ousting her from the position. If you start questioning what the owners are actually recieving for their $20pw, alarm bells will start ringing.

I would also start looking for any "occupational health and safety issues" on the site that "may" require urgent (read: expensive) attention. Advise that once she has been notified in writing of the issue, then she is legally bound to address it as a priority. Of course, it may be possible to delay such a notification indefinitely, pending the removal of the car wrecks.

Over and above these approaches - has anybody actually asked why she wants to have car wrecks on the property?

Thanks Tony,

The person who sold the unit had tried to get support from other owners. But most owners were absentee landlords.

The "crazy lady" (so dubbed by the person who sold the unit) had support from several other resident owners. No attempt to muster support succeeded.

Resident owners where her best friends.

But the point of the story was more that investors, buying blind, were more concerned about numbers than what was occurring in the block.
Therein Lies The Solution

I must admit that as an absentee landlord, I don't particularly care what happens in a block of units unless:

It affects my ability to tenant the unit
It affects my ability to retain tenants
It affects my ability to generate equity via re-valuation

It is in this that your answer lies. You state that the majority of the owners are absentee. Perhaps your best approach is to find out whether tenant turnover in the complex is higher than the area average. If this is the case, then you can approach all the absentee owners with an explanation as to why.

Believe me, if an owner in one of my complexes came to me with a proposition that ...

Did not involve cash outlay on my part
Increased my equity in the property
Improved my cash flow as a consequence of retaining tenants
Only required me to pressure another owner to remove derelict vehicles

... I can assure you that I woould examine the proposition very seriously.

Good luck.
Words of Wisdom

Having consulted with my Oracle (wife) she makes a couple of good points:

Your friend could have approached the absentee owners to secure a proxy vote for the AGM to oust the "crazy lady"

If the cars were on common property, and she was not the registered owner (you described them as abandoned cars), then he/she is within his/her rights to just tow them away altogether. If a sale was pending, then the small expense incurred in this would seem to be very worthwhile.

In the past, I have even willingly spent money giving neighbour's gardens a quick once over, just to improve the presentation of a property on the market. It is money well spent.

Perhaps the "crazy lady" might be interested in renting out her car spaces? This way tenants (or residents) could be given the options of an additional car space and this might make the units more attractive rather than less. You never know she might be motivated by resentment of anyone getting anything from her for free (like her spaces to park in) :rolleyes: