Maintaining and improving common property in an owners corporation

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Your owners corporation (formerly body corporate) can only make significant alterations to the use or appearance of its common property if the alterations are:

  • listed in the maintenance plan or
  • approved by special resolution of the owners corporation or
  • composed of works for upgrading, renovating or improving the common property, or
  • based on reasonable grounds to believe that an immediate alteration is necessary.  

‘Upgrading’ means building works for upgrading, renovating or improving the property where:

  • the estimated total cost of the works is more than double annual total fees, or 
  • the works require a planning building permit, and
  • a special resolution is passed. 

Fees levied for upgrading the common property must be based on lot liability, however if the upgrade to the works are wholly or substantially for the benefit of some or one lot owner(s), the fees must be levied on the basis that the lot owners who benefit more, pay more.

A lot owner must not repair, alter or maintain the common property, or a service in or relating to a lot that is for the benefit of more than one lot, unless the lot owner has been expressly authorised by the owners corporation to carry out the repairs and maintenance as an agent of the owners corporation. 


Your owners corporation can make significant alterations if they are reasonably believed to be required:

  • immediately to ensure safety or to prevent significant loss or damage, which can be approved by ordinary resolution or by the committee
  • so that tenants or visitors with a disability can access common property. For more information, visit the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission website.

Entry to the common property for repairs and maintenance 

An owners corporation may authorise someone to enter a lot or building on a lot to carry out repairs and maintain services and common property.  

An owners corporation may also authorise someone to enter a lot if a lot owner has refused to or failed to carry out repairs to a lot. In this case the owners corporation must follow an appropriate procedure to serve a notice on a lot owner to make the repairs in the first instance.   

VCAT can make an order requiring a lot occupier to grant entry to the common property to someone authorised by an owners corporation to carry out those works. 

The owners corporation must: 

  • provide at least 7 days’ notice in writing to the occupier of the lot, unless it is an emergency, or the occupier agrees to a shorter amount of time, or 

Disposal of abandoned goods on common property

 An owners corporation may dispose of goods abandoned on the common property, and can notify the owner of the goods, if they are known, of the intention to dispose of them. 

The owners corporation can notify the owner in person, by leaving a notice at the premises, or by post to the person’s last known address.  

A notice of the owners corporation’s intention must be in writing and include:  

  • the plan number and address of the owners corporation   
  • a description of the goods  
  • an address where the goods may be collected  
  • a statement stating when the goods will be disposed of unless they are collected, and  
  • a statement that the owners corporation will retain funds from the sale of disposed items to cover its costs.

Before disposing of the goods, an owners corporation may move them to a safe place if they block reasonable access to a lot or the common property, and it has made a reasonable attempt to alert the person who abandoned the goods of its intention to dispose of them. 

An owners corporation must not dispose of the goods if the owner and the owners corporation are in dispute over them, and the owners corporation has made an application to VCAT in relation to the dispute. 

An owners corporation that correctly disposes of abandoned goods is not liable for them. 

For more information on common property, view our What is an owners corporation? page.