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6 steps to cutting your body corp fees

One of the most-often asked questions from today’s home buyers in Brisbane’s inner city: How much are the body corp fees? With more and more focus on living expenses buyers are often ruling apartments in and out of their Saturday open house schedule based on this one piece of info alone. So at last week’s Bees Nees Realty client seminar we asked Peter Cassels from Cassels Strata to share some expert ideas on slicing your building’s fees and here’s some of them:

1. Get onto the committee. Remember a body corp is made up of you the owners and getting involved is the first step in ensuring money is being spent wisely.

2. Manage your managers. Not the onsite caretakers where there is one, but the company that runs the body corp. Challenge them. Are they looking for cost efficiencies? Have they ever seen the building (not a silly question)? Have a good look at the disbursements or added extras they’re charging the body corp. Many get their appointment based on a low fee but have an extensive list of add-ons, so why not request a flat fee?

3. Have a really good look at electricity use in your common areas. Put lights on sensors and the lobby airconditioner on a timer for peak periods. Put pool pumps onto off-peak tariffs. Basement exhaust systems often run 24/7 but advanced CO2 sensors can be added to save huge bills: One attendee at the seminar said his building had just a 10 month payback on the cost of this change.

4. Bulk buy. If your building has approx 40 lots or more there’s a good chance you can bulk buy electricity, saving the body corp and every resident.

5. Have you tendered your lift maintenance contracts lately? The original company may have simply rolled-over their agreements (often with big stepped increases on their fee). Cassels Strata saw one recent change where the body corp halved their annual lift costs.

6. Are you over-insured? The Act says you need to review the replacement cost every 5 years but in the interim your policy might have more-than-needed rises in coverage. Could you live with a higher excess if it saved on the premium?

Body corps don’t make a “profit”, but they can be guilty of overspending. This simple checklist might be a good place to start in asking your managers what can be done to cut your costs right now.

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