Most community titles schemes in Queensland are regulated by the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (BCCM Act) and the regulation modules made under that Act.
However, due to the way body corporate legislation evolved in Queensland, many resort-style, layered or mixed-use developments are still regulated by the predecessor to the BCCM Act, being the Building Units and Groups Titles Act 1980 (BUGT Act). For example, subsidiary schemes with the Royal Pines, Sanctuary Cove and Couran Cove developments are still regulated by the BUGT Act.
The BCCM Act and the BUGT Act are quite different, with the BCCM Act providing a better level of regulation for a modern community titles scheme. That leads to the unfortunate situation where two body corporates in Queensland, which might exist in similar circumstances and which might have similar needs, are regulated to differing degrees. Recent changes to the BUGT Act, which commenced on 1 December 2022, seek to modernise and improve the BUGT Act to bring it into line with the BCCM Act.
Obligation to act reasonably
There is now an obligation on the body corporate under the BUGT Act to act reasonably in making (or choosing not to make) a decision. Previously, there was no such obligation under the BUGT Act, although such an obligation has existed under the BCCM Act since in inception. Now under BUGT, a lot owner can challenge a decision of the body corporate on the basis the body corporate did not act reasonably in making the relevant decision.
Enhanced transparency & dispute resolution
The amendments seek to improve governance and transparency by introducing a requirement for the body corporate to circulate minutes of body corporate meetings.
Dispute resolution has been enhanced, as referees determining dispute resolution applications under the Act must now observe natural justice, must act quickly, and with as little ‘formality and technicality’ as practicable, and need not observe the rules of evidence.
Institution of proceedings to recover levies
Body corporates are now obligated to recover levies that have been outstanding for 2 years and 30 days, within 2 months of the end of that period.
Regulation of committee
Changes have been made to the regulation of body corporate committees.
New committee eligibility requirements have been introduced, which require a committee member to be an “electable person”, that is, an individual who is a proprietor; or is a company nominee of a corporation that is a proprietor; or is not a proprietor but has been nominated for election by a proprietor. Importantly, the individual must not owe a body corporate debt to the body corporate, or to any associated body corporates.
Debtor members of the committee, namely members that are proprietors (or who are the company nominee of a proprietor that is a corporation) and owe a relevant body corporate debt, must not vote at meetings while they still owe that debt.
There is now regulation of conflicts of interest at committee level, as now committee members with a direct or indirect interest in an issue being considered must disclose this interest, and cannot vote on any decision relating to that interest being considered.
ABKJ & Body Corporate Law
The team at ABKJ Lawyers have extensive experience with body corporate matters. Whether your community title scheme is subject to the BUGT Act or the BCCM Act, we can help you resolve any body corporate issues that arise. Please make an enquiry or call us on 5532 3199.