Changes are a staple of life, and one thing’s for certain – things will always change. Body corporate legislation is no different.
The Queensland Government has recently proposed a raft of changes to the Queensland body corporate legislation for 2023, including some major structural reforms. There are some significant changes being proposed – and if you live in a body corporate building, you’ll need to be across these changes, as they will affect your life in various ways. So, what exactly is changing and when? And what, if anything, do you need to do about it? Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.
There’s a lot going on in strata in Queensland, and big announcements about major strata reforms have recently come through. These changes are related to things that usually cause significant issues in Queensland strata schemes, such as smoking, pets and towing of inappropriately parked vehicles.
There are two planned packages of reform for body corporate legislation in Queensland, meaning we can expect two amendment bills on strata issues in the not-too-distant future. Some of the current proposed changes will affect:
- Scheme termination – this is a big issue, and the threshold for deciding to terminate a scheme (such as when it becomes non-financial) has been reduced to 75% agreement of owners, down from the current situation, which requires a resolution without dissent of owners to enable a scheme to be terminated. This is a significant change. The 75% threshold will apply if it’s more financially viable for owners in the scheme to terminate the scheme, rather than to maintain or remediate the scheme. This is a potentially problematic issue, as people who don’t wish to move from their strata homes may be forced to if 75% of the other owners decide to end the scheme. Previously, under the resolution without dissent model, if one owner said no, the changes would not be able to go ahead.
- Smoking – it is now proposed that bodies corporate can better protect residents from second-hand smoke by having greater powers to prohibit smoking in outdoor and communal areas.
- Pets – under the new proposals, body corporate schemes would be prevented from banning pets (except in specific circumstances, which have not yet been outlined).
- Towing – bodies corporate would be allowed to tow vehicles which are causing a hazard or preventing some kind of access. This is not a new proposal but is one which may be expanded.
- Disputes – there’s also a proposal to make it easier for residents to lodge disputes and to expand adjudicators’ powers (again, in ways that are not yet clarified).
What you need to know right now:
- There aren’t many details around these changes or the timing of them, and no formal bill or legislation has been proposed for now. This means that for the moment, the status quo remains, and we operate as normal under the current strata legislation – for now.
- However, bodies corporate will need to be ready to react fairly quickly if and when these reforms come through, and to ensure they stay abreast of any updates that are released. Committees will need to be cautious and engaged, as the legislation is fairly lengthy and prescriptive.
- We can expect to receive a second package of reforms before the end of this year.
- Schemes may eventually need to amend their by-laws as well, to ensure they are fit for purpose.
- Keep in mind that details are few and far between at the moment, and nothing is set in concrete just yet.
If you want to read the proposed reforms for yourself, you can find them here: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/97183
If you’re looking for more specific information and help for your body corporate, contact the leaders in body corporate management in Queensland: https://www.capitolbca.com.au/contact-us/