John owned an apartment on the top floor of a three level complex that had small commercial units on the bottom floor.  At a recent Body Corporate AGM, the owners of the commercial units raised an issue – they didn’t think that using “ownership interests” on the title to the property was a fair way of working out levies.

They argued that the levies they paid were put towards things like long term maintenance of the lifts and the common garden area out the back of the complex which was only used by residential apartment owners.

The Unit Titles Act 2010 provides that a Body Corporate can “reassess” ownership interests to instead use “utility interests”.  Utility interests take into account what is actually used by units, rather than simply their share of the total ownership interests in the building (which is generally broadly based on square meterage).  In this case it would likely mean that the commercial owners would have lower levies to reflect the fact that they don’t use all the common areas and common services.

Any decision to reassess needs to be made by a special resolution of the Body Corporate.

The reassessment is generally carried out by a valuer, but also involves legal advice. If your Body Corporate is considering reassessing ownership interests, it should take expert advice before proceeding.