New Year to Welcome New Body Corporate Laws

Property Management,  Property Managers

The Queensland Government’s updates to the Body Corporate and Community Management Act (BCCMA) are here, set to usher in modernised procedures that will reduce costs and enhance protections for owners. The new body corporate regulations will take effect from 1 March 2021 and follow widespread industry consultation and the property law review undertaken by the Queensland University of Technology.

In overview, the new regulations will:

  • Permit electronic voting and attendance at meetings, including the use of ‘live’ electronic voting and remote personal attendance by teleconference or videoconference;
  • permit use of email and other forms of electronic communication for the exchange of information and documents within body corporates;
  • clarify and improve the list of documents that original owners (developers) must provide to body corporates to facilitate effective governance of the scheme and;
  • encourage early identification and remedy of building defects by requiring body corporates consider motions to prepare a defect assessment report at its second annual general meeting.

The regulations are largely uniform across the body corporate regulatory framework, applying to the standard module, specified two-lot schemes, small schemes, commercial modules and accommodation modules. Each of the five regulation modules have been updated and can be accessed below:

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Electronic Voting & Attendance: During COVID-19, individuals and organisations across all sectors embraced the benefits of electronic technologies to help them communicate and conduct business. One of the key objectives of the new regulations is to help modernise body corporate procedures by allowing for greater use of electronic technologies to attend and vote at meetings and to give and receive documents.

Committees: There are several other changes for body corporate committees to be aware of, including eligibility of any two committee members cannot derive from ownership of the same lot (except in certain circumstances), motions under consideration will have a set a timeframe of six weeks (which may be extended to 12 weeks if required), committees members will have up to 21 days to respond to votes outside a committee meeting, the ability to approve insurance policies for schemes to avoid unnecessary delays and risks, and any committee member who owes a body corporate debt, will be ineligible to vote at a committee meeting or by a vote outside a committee meeting.

General Meetings: To prevent what has become known as “proxy farming,” a person will only be able to vote on motions at a general meeting, under the authority of a power of attorney for one lot owner. And new “group of same-issue motions” procedures will also apply. There’ll also be more flexible quorum requirements for general meetings.

Owner Protections: To improve protections for owners, Body Corporate Managers and Caretakers will be required to disclose the amount of monetary benefit they are entitled to receive if a Body Corporate enters into an insurance policy or other contract, and new schemes will be subject to defect assessment requirements. A further restriction will be any committee members receiving direct or indirect benefits from caretaking service contractors unless the body corporate has authorised the receipt of the benefit by ordinary resolution. The measure is intended to prevent inducements or rewards from being given to committee members for preferential consideration of a contractor.

These new regulations are welcome news for many across the community titles sector, who have been seeking more flexible and contemporary body corporate procedures to support self-management of schemes and harmonious community living. In today’s busy world, the convenience of electronic body corporate processes is expected to assist in encouraging greater participation in body corporate decision-making. Above all, the new limitations on committee memberships, voting and use of powers of attorney are designed to ensure fair representation in these decision-making processes, and the new disclosure requirements to assist in ensuring owners have the information they need to make informed decisions. For further information about these and other changes in the new body corporate laws and how they apply, contact the Property Management Support Service on 1300 MYREIQ (697 347) or email pmsupport@reiq.com.au

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