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Proposed changes to current body corporate laws

By Ray White Whitsunday

The below article was written by Hynes Legal

The Queensland Government today announced a raft of proposed changes to current body corporate laws, including making it easier to redevelop aging apartment blocks.

The proposed new laws would require just 75% of lot owners to approve the termination of a scheme where the body corporate has agreed it is more financially viable to terminate rather than maintain or remediate the scheme. It seems that this is the only basis on which schemes can be brought to an end without 100% support.

There are many questions still to be answered, including whether dissenting owners will be compensated beyond the sale price of their lot for the inconvenience and cost of having to move, and what actually constitutes the financial triggers. Is it the equivalent of a car write-off?

Currently, a scheme can only be brought to an end if all owners agree to that, regardless of the age or dilapidation of the scheme.

The community title law reform working group has also discussed numerous other issues, the responses to some of which have also been announced in principle. Other proposed changes announced today include:

  • Pet ownership – bodies corporate will not be able to ban pets in a community title scheme, except in special circumstances. This might take away the arguments about whether prohibiting pets is unreasonable or oppressive, which is the battleground at the moment. This seems to make clear that pets are part of residential life – in whatever type of structure you live in.
  • Smoking – bodies corporate will be given the power to make by-laws that prohibits all smoking from outdoor and communal areas. This doesn’t quite cross the bridge to prohibiting smoking inside lots and on balconies that was considered in the Artique decision that we discussed in our webinar here.
  • Towing of vehicles – bodies corporate will be able to tow vehicles which prevent access or cause a hazard. At the moment the issue is that by-law enforcement takes longer than is effective for dealing with these types of breaches. It would seem that a more immediate ‘self-help’ remedy may be around the corner.
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