New Body Corporate Legislation has Passed
Strata Sphere Management
New Body Corporate Legislation has Passed
Significant changes have arrived to body corporate laws in Queensland, bringing much-needed clarity and addressing long-standing concerns, to deliver a number of improvements and clarifications to the legislation. On 14 November 2023 the Body Corporate and Community Management and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 was passed, to introduce new provisions to regulate smoking, towing of vehicles, keeping of pets, the termination of schemes deemed uneconomical and applicable penalties for by-law contraventions.
The new laws will commence on a date yet to be announced, likely to be early next year.
Addressing Smoking Concerns
Second-hand smoke poses a significant health concern for residents in community titles schemes, particularly due to the close proximity of units in these schemes, allowing smoke from neighbouring units to easily permeate into other units or common areas. Apart from the health hazards, second-hand smoke can also cause discomfort for non-smoking residents.
The new amendments will empower body corporates to implement stricter smoking policies within their schemes. The includes enabling a body corporate for a community titles scheme to make a by-law restricting the smoking or inhaling of smoking products on the common property for the scheme or the outdoor area of a lot, such as a balcony or courtyard. While smoking in common areas is already restricted by the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998, smoking on outdoor areas of common property is not currently expressly prohibited.
Streamlining Vehicle Towing Procedures
Parking on common property can be a major source of contention in community titles schemes, especially when vehicles obstruct access to the scheme, a particular lot, or utility infrastructure. Bodies corporate have a range of tools at their disposal to manage parking on common property, including body corporate by-laws.
The amendments will streamline the removal of vehicles from the common property of a community titles scheme, without a more extensive dispute resolution process that provides an opportunity for the vehicle owner to respond to allegations that they have breached a by-law, before action is taken in relation to their vehicle.
Establishing Clear Pet Guidelines
Australia’s high pet ownership rate and the growing popularity of community titles schemes have heightened the significance of pet policies in these settings. Evidence suggests that numerous bodies corporate have adopted invalid pet bans and unreasonably deny requests to keep animals.
The amendments aim to strike a balance between permitting pet ownership in community titles schemes and guaranteeing that animal presence does not unduly disrupt the lives of other residents within the scheme. This will provide clarity to a body corporate in their ability to regulate the keeping or bringing of an animal onto a lot or common property.
Addressing Uneconomical Schemes
The amended legislation sets out a new process for termination of uneconomic community title schemes that has the potential to limit property rights of a minority of owners who do not support sale (and termination) of the scheme. In summary, the new process will permit the owners of 75% or more lots in the scheme to resolve to undertake a collective sale process and terminate the scheme, essentially compelling other lot owners to sell their lot without their agreement. This process is not straightforward and requires significant “hurdles” to be overcome, but there is now a pathway where all hurdles are addressed.
The amendment provides for penalties to be imposed for contraventions of the following obligations:
- failure of a person to comply with a continuing contravention notice or future contravention notice given to the person by the body corporate;
- failure of a body corporate for a community titles scheme in a layered arrangement of community titles schemes to permit an interested person to inspect the body corporate records or give the person a copy of a record kept by the body corporate.
Stay Informed and Engaged
We encourage all Queensland residents to familiarise themselves with this information and actively participate in discussions within their respective schemes. With collective effort, we can cultivate more harmonious and well-maintained living environments for all.
Should you require any assistance with the general advice provided in this communication, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
20 November, 2023
31 January, 2022