Proposed changes to the Queensland body corporate legislation in 2023 are welcome, but a slow delivery on promises leaves body corporates hanging.
At the end of February, the Queensland Government announced that it would be making some changes to body corporate legislation. Great – the bulk of the current legislation was written a decade before the invention of the iPhone and there are multiple areas where it needs to be updated to keep pace with modern body corporate living. If we are going to have successful buildings, we need a legislative framework that reflects the reality of how those buildings are built and operate.
Unfortunately, the legislators see things a bit differently and have instead opted to announce a limited range of proposals. Here’s what’s being considered:
• Schemes can be sold to developers with the agreement of 75 per cent of lot owners vs the 100 per cent agreement currently required.
• Smoking is to be prohibited in outdoor and communal areas.
• Bodies corporate will be prevented from banning pets, except in specific circumstances.
• Body corporates may be allowed to tow vehicles that are causing an obstruction to common property.
And, at the moment, that’s about all the information we have. At some point this year there is due to be a consultation over the proposals and then at some point, they will be enacted. A second round of changes will also be announced at some point – hopefully, they will be meatier than the first.
Insubstantial as the proposals are, we have to start considering what they might mean for body corporates. When the full details are revealed, we will take a look at all the pros and cons, but immediately the early announcement of possible changes may be causing more issues for schemes than the proposed solutions.
This is particularly the case when it comes to the by-law regulations that have been put forward.
As things stand, we know that there are planned changes to pet, parking and smoking by-laws. Without more concrete details or a timeline for introduction, it is now harder to advise owners about how they should approach these issues if they are having a current problem or want to push a matter forward.
Consider a scheme that is planning to update its smoking by-laws. Should it go to the time and expense of doing this knowing the government is planning changes that might override any by-law they bring in? Is it worth passing a by-law today if the same changes are going to be written into the legislation in a few months’ time?
How about a scheme that is having problems with pet regulation? We think it will become easier for owners to house pets in strata schemes, but will there be any assistance with regulating those pets once they are on site? Should the scheme issue by-law breaches and start action at the Commissioner’s office to have owners penalised for a breach while knowing that, by the time their case is eventually heard, the regulatory landscape might have shifted?
Body corporates thrive on certainty and introducing these kinds of stick or twist possibilities into the consideration of how they are managed has added an extra level of precariousness to the decision making process.
Ultimately, there is no choice other than to soldier on but if the legislative process is going to be slow, why are such a limited range of changes being proposed? Alternatively, if only a few changes are required, why does it take so long for them to be enacted? We’ll probably never have the answer and it’s disappointing that we have to ask the question.
Find out more about the proposed changes here:
Your manager is available as per the below:
Tammy Lynch: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 0466 156 765
Samantha Morrison: email@example.com P: 0434 670 058
Kelly Borell: Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org P: 0435 766 852
Will Marquand: email@example.com P: 0427 125 656